There are moments which define life and faith and work and the ties that bind. There are moments that open our eyes and tell us more than we knew or even suspected. The Christmas Day community lunch went off with hardly a hitch. Leslie Kendall spent December overseeing weddings, so she tasked Bob with the duty of organizing the event. That assignment might have been daunting for many folks, but Bob is the consummate planner. Plus, Leslie handed Bob a notebook . . . a very thick notebook . . . with an abundance of memos.
So, in the weeks leading up to the event, people signed up to bring tableware, fruit, candy, green beans, fruit cocktail, and punch . . . and they brought it all. The CWF anchored the desert table with a dozen cakes while others added to the decadence. Plas-tic ware got wrapped and tied in napkins. Tables were set-up and decorated. The preced-ing weekend, Robert Wells and Ricky Brown cooked extra Boston Butts (the original donat-ed butts had been delivered to others because the CMF had such a successful sale).
The day came, and the Episcopalians showed up with potatoes. The Methodists opened their doors for some post-meal gifting. Kathy Sandifer took up her station at the piano. Theresa Mathis gave instructions to some 60-70 volunteers. The doors were thrown open. The banquet was on! I am told that we served a record 233 men, women and children.
Now some of you may be wondering what the preacher’s job is for an event this immense. By Christmas day, ministers are in a state of some exhaustion. We are moving slowly, so this preacher tries to stay out of the way. I put up half of a sign . . . I unlocked one door . . . I located some extra garbage bags. The rest of the time, I chit-chatted with volunteers and guests.
It was in pursuit of this last ministerial function that one of our volunteers told me that one of the children at the table she was serving said to her, "This is my best Christmas ever!"
There are moments which define life and faith and work and the ties that bind. There are moments that open our eyes and tell us more than we knew or even suspected.
To imagine that a child of some unknown age could say that a meal in a church fellowship hall constituted the very best of his Christmases, however many that had been – 5, 7, 10. A glass of punch and a plate of food . . . a bag of fruit and candies . . . a couple of moments to pick out a toy in the hallway outside the food area . . . a couple of people offering a smile and a greeting – to try to imagine how that makes for the best Christmas ever will bring you to tears.
Someone asked me whether I thought there were more children this year than in previous years. It seemed like it to this observer. I can’t really say. What I can say is that when you break it all down, a fellowship hall can serve as a kind of stable – it has a barn-like quality, after all. It is large and mostly empty until you fill it with hay or tables or whatever. But of all the places through which I wandered this season, I am pretty sure that it was in our fellowship hall/stable/banquet room that Christmas was most alive.
Presumably, Bob has returned Leslie’s notebook though it may be a little thicker now. On we go, into 2019 – Ring out the old, ring in the new!
Blessings and Peace,
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These thoughts and reflections come from our Senior Minister, Minister of Music and Board Chair. We hope that they provide both challenge and inspiration for your spiritual life.