As we light the fourth candle in our Advent wreath this morning, the glow of the candles lights up the room even more. The tree lights give our living room a certain charm as I breathe in the fresh scent of evergreen.
Russ and I are meeting up with dear friends in a little while and attending an early morning service at a nearby church. Our own church is doing things a bit differently this year with same service today as tomorrow so we will do Christmas Eve with our family there.
I am a church nerd.
I love sitting in what I still call a sanctuary …..
whether it is a traditional style with long pews and hymnals in racks…
or one that looks like a gym and the chairs are the same ones we use for classes and dinners and meetings.
Church has been a part of my life for my whole life.
Years full of Sunday mornings leaning up against the suit coat of my dad while he slipped me sour balls to keep me quiet…or squirming in the pew between my grandma and my aunt and my mom as their various perfumes and hairspray waged war around my pigtailed head.
Even in years where I didn’t live it out, I was still drawn to the Church each week because my soul longed to be near God and it seemed even if I couldn’t find Him during the week…He for sure would be there on Sunday.
The music and the Scriptures read, heads bowed in prayer…passing the peace and the plates…whether the offering we give to Him or receiving the one He gave to us….all of it.
I have sat amongst believers around this country, and am blessed to be able to say…in four other countries …and in all manner of denominations.
I have heard some wonderful and powerful sermons and I have nodded off in my fair share as well.
I have felt an outsider…sometimes because of others and sometimes because my own sin has seemed too much for God to even welcome one like me.
But that was on me…not Him.
For welcome me He has always done and always will.
And that is why I love the Church.
Because He loves the Church…and gave His life for Her.
For a flawed bunch of humans who gather together as one because….
I am one with them, and you are one with me, so that they may become completely one. Then the world’s people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.John 17:23 CEV
I hope you are gathering somewhere today with the rest of us…in some setting of worship…and that you will know and feel the love of your Father for you through Jesus Christ the Son <3