What delight I felt when my granddaughter shouted those words and ran along the aisle toward me. Her brother quickly followed and we hugged. Grandma and I had arrived for their Church’s Christmas Eve Eve service. The church has this service so families can be together on Christmas Eve. So we attend their service to remember the season…
…and to spend time with our grandchildren.
I enjoy the Christmas season. The special foods, family get-together, decorations, gift-giving, and the familiar songs. When our children were growing up we implemented many traditions. Now my children in turn are establishing theirs. We took our family to a Christmas Eve service. Now we join our son’s family for their church’s service.
Seeing my grandkids learning the Christmas songs and beginning to grasp the meaning of the season provides hope that what I attempted to impart to my children, they, in turn, are now passing on to theirs.
Having Grandma and me there also helped relieve the parents of the full force of the fidgeting. This service proved most challenging to my almost three year-old grandson. Not only did he fidget he also whined. I could only distract him for brief moments before he resumed his complaint.
“Where’s my candle?”
Good question. How do you explain the rationale to someone that young? He quickly transitions from one activity to another. So forgetting he was holding a lit candle could prove disastrous. Still he had a point. Everyone else in the sanctuary had a candle and as we approached the lighting time while singing “Silent Night” his distress grew more palpable.
“Would you like to help Grandpa hold his candle?”
A simple question. An awesome attitude transformation. Reverently he held the candle with my hand around his. He didn’t move. He looked at the flame and then around at the multitude of flames illuminating the darkness. So carefully did he hold the candle I occasionally released my hold.
The candle didn’t waver.
My delight grew as I realized the gift I’d given him. The gift of inclusion. He so wanted to be a part of the service. Initially I believed it was simply the fascination with fire. But he demonstrated a reverence I experience all too rarely in my worship. In that he was my teacher.
Often have I wanted to feel a part of. From childhood play, to school friendship groups, to a worshiping community, I felt I was on the outside looking in. During this service I received a special insight. I saw my grandson transition from being apart from to becoming a part of the worship experience.
In joining him I, too, embraced the sense of community. In reaching out to my grandson, I came in. I am not always that sensitive when I am around others. In my church and workplace and my family far too often I see whining as an interruption, a distraction from what is important. Yet, my agenda is not as precious as reaching out and inviting another in.
Holding my grandson that night I believed I was teaching him. In actuality God taught me. He let me know I hold the candle he gave me and there is joy in sharing its light.
Where’s my candle?
Always there in my hand.