Last week, Ruth Samuelson, one of our members, made an offhand comment to her husband Ken, “People don’t seem to be doing much for Christmas this year.” Little did she know that for the past few weeks Mandy Price, a fellow church member, had been planning a very special event to bless the Samuelson family this Christmas. As you may know, Ruth has been battling cancer, and Mandy was one of many who experienced an overwhelming desire to help out in any way possible. Since she couldn’t find any immediate needs, she hatched a plan to spread some Christmas cheer by organizing some Christmas caroling and conspired with Ruth’s daughter, Joy, to pull it off.
Since Mandy wanted it to be a surprise, she sent the word out through life groups and there was an excellent response. When our family arrived I was overjoyed to see a large crowd gathered in the street and the group continued to grow until we made our way down to the Samuelson’s front door. After Mandy knocked, Ruth and Ken emerged and looked out upon a sea of faces that were lit by candlelight. Ruth grabbed her coat and took her seat on the step and the singing began. Lauren Palmer started us off and we filled the Samuelson’s front yard with some pretty amazing truth.
There was excitement among the group as they filled the street and ended up blocking traffic.
Here are some of my favorite lines from the songs we sang:
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
“Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free.”
He was born to set his people free. In Christmas, we celebrate the birth and we wonder in the cross, the place that he set his people free.
O Come All Ye Faithful
“Very God, Begotten, not created…O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”
Very God, same substance, yet he humbled himself and took on flesh. Yes, let us adore him.
Joy to the World
“He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found.”
I love the picture that this brings to mind. For me, I picture that the curse has stained this broken world like a flood that has ravaged a city. As far as the eye can see there is destruction. But Jesus came and his blessing meets the high water mark of the curse. His presence makes all things new…reviewed, redeemed, rejuvenated. Whether we see this promised fulfilled now or in heaven, this is a sure reality we can cling to.
“Radiant beams from Thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace Jesus, Lord at thy birth Jesus, Lord at thy birth.”
The Lord’s birth brings the dawn of redeeming grace. Don’t you love the beautiful imagery in those words? This is glorious truth to sing and rejoice over.
We closed singing:
We Wish you a Merry Christmas
“We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
I pray you had a Merry Christmas, and I do hope you have a Happy New Year. Although none of us is completely certain of what all this next year will hold, we can have complete certainty that our good, powerful and loving God will be with us every day, every moment.
As we sang, Ken and Ruth sat on the steps together, looking out at faces – faces that were smiling and singing. It was a gift to see their faces light up as they recognized friends, new and old. When we finished Ken told us all that during the singing he turned to Ruth and said, “This is what Heaven will be like.”
Getting to participate in glimpses of Heaven is a beautiful thing. I pray that the good parts of your Christmas were a taste of Heaven. I pray that the challenges of your Christmas make you long for Heaven. I pray that you live your life in a way that points others to Heaven.
Adults and kids gathered all bundled up and enjoyed the festivities.
Author: Rev. Dave Kulp