Thanksgiving is a memory and we look forward to the celebration of Christ's birth. I seem to become more emotional and a little bit sentimental, AND, realizing I haven't been a kid for a very long time, I think about the past and all of the changes since those growing up years.
We were recently invited to celebrate the 30th anniversay of the church in which I grew up. In his sermon, Pastor Mike discussed the church and what it really means when you say the word "church." In most mind, it conjurs the image of a building. However, no where in scripture does God use the word "church" to descibe a building. It's the people. When I look back at my childhood, my church was "the people." And they weren't just "the church." They were/are family.
While we are not with them regularly, what a fitting time of year to visit these people ... the church. It is like "going home"... to family. I can't imagine where I would be if God had not brought that group of people together to serve God and each other ... and be His church. I am convinced my life would have turned out very differently ... I would not be the same person.
Our church lost a dear friend early in 2011. And when I think about her role in my life and in the church, it was all about service. I know her family and friends miss her, especially during holiday season. But I also rejoice in my heart for her ... what must it be like to celebrate Christmas in heaven ... with Jesus?!
In heaven, there is no worry about putting on a few pounds from the Christmas ham or picking just the right outfit for the Christmas party ... no worry about selecting the perfect gift. HE IS the perfect gift.
My kids look at me like I am crazy when they ask me what I would like for Christmas and my answer is, "I don't need a thing." I have the perfect gift ... Jesus ... and, while God's plan was put into action long ago in a small church in southern Iowa, I am still on a journey of service for my King.