scene that Sunday – big flakes of snow had piled themselves up against our
windows and doors and they were still coming down when we piled ourselves into
the car to head to church. A lot of people decided they’d let the snow be an
excuse to stay home and enjoy another day of Christmas. I can’t say I blame
them, but they missed something special.
Sunday school class, we combined a bunch and I was able to sit in on the adult
class, which was also combined. There were normally two adult classes at that
church – one taught by a young man who taught through the scriptures like a
university professor. The other was an older, fiddle-playing rancher who used
story telling to teach what he saw in God’s word. I enjoyed sitting under the
instruction of both of these men, but it was a special treat for me to be there
that day when the older man took over the class.
He talked about how he doesn’t like Christmas much, until he can disassociate
himself from the hustle and bustle, and focus on the good things about
Christmas and what the season really means. Then he
took one of the church hymnals and turned to a familiar carol. He read the
words. Slowly. Then he flipped to another and read the words. Slowly. He
repeated this process over and over and, slowly, we all were wrapped in a
spirit of wonder and comfort and joy that was enhanced when he played the last
carol on his old violin. The man is missing part of a thumb, but he made that
instrument sound so sweet. I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes.
words seemed to fail him and, well, there really wasn’t any need to say
anything more. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring the truth of a
story home. Sometimes familiar words can suddenly come to life and you see and
understand in a new way. As we quietly and, yes, slowly, made our way into the
sanctuary for the morning service, our spirits were uplifted, our hearts
your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their
mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst” (Nehemiah 9:20). As we slip
into the next year, I pray we will all slow down now and then so that the
simple things can touch us and reveal that Spirit of Christmas to us, all year
long. I pray we will all receive that manna and that water, that we might allow
it to flow through our stories, to the glory of God.