The Unexpected Christmas Gift

This Christmas my church offered only one Christmas Eve service, at eleven pm. I am not a night owl and any event, church or party, starting later than seven pm is a challenge for me.   With an abundance of churches in our area, I began an on line search for a Christmas morning service. I found a church offering a 10:30 am service only six miles from the house. Not a bad commute. I used to drive much further than that to attend church. However, there was one little flaw in this plan. Attending services at a church other than mine meant sitting in an unfamiliar church, with an unfamiliar congregation and minister, alone, on Christmas. 

My resolve to attend wavered. After a moment of prayer, I decided it was important I attend, regardless of how odd, or sad it would make me feel. I pulled on my coat of Courage and Trust, and went.

The church parking lot was almost empty. Was the web sight wrong and there wasn't a 10:30 service? Well, there were a few other cars..... I grabbed my purse, got out of the car and resolutely headed toward the front doors. As I passed a car parked in the handicapped spot, the occupant, and older woman, leaned out. "They are having a 10:30 service, aren't they?"

"As far as I know. At least the web site said there was. However, this is my first visit, and so I am not entirely sure, but thought I would try the door."

The woman smiled. "Well, I'm fairly new as well. I'll follow you, and if you would like, we could sit together."

"I would like that."

There was indeed a service. About ten other attendees were scattered about the small sanctuary. My companion led me to a pew much closer to the front than I am comfortable with. (I prefer the anonymity of the last row. ) Prior to the service, the minister moved from pew to pew, personally welcome every attendee, including me. His words of welcome touched my heart.

The celebration was simple, elegant and stirring, and with my companion beside me,  I felt welcomed, and at home.

After the service, Carol gave me a huge hug and invited me back. The minister also extended a personal invitation to return next Sunday.

I thank God for my unexpected Christmas gift. Carol will never know what a difference her simple act of kindness made. I am taking this beautiful lesson to heart, and asking God to help me be a doer of small, yet mighty, things.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. Often it is the unexpected, the "stepping out in faith" that can bring moments of blessing.

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  2. Isn't it amazing how God provides just what we need when we are obedient.....Such an encouragement to me this morning.....

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  3. Oh wow!!!!!!! Isn't God good...what a very special gift from Him...like he leaned over and gave you a kiss on the cheek.

    I am so glad you stepped outside your comfort zone...what a lesson to me...when we do He meets us there.

    Happy New Year...lovely post!

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  4. We just recently moved to a new home and "tried out" several churches until we found one that fit us, so I know what it is like to be new and not know where to go. All the different churches we attended were very friendly and welcoming. What made the difference for us was what was being taught - The Bible.

    At one of the churches we attended the sermon topic was parenting. Good topic, but the preacher couldn't seem to find even one quote from the Bible to include in his sermon. This was way too Christian-lite for me!

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  5. Thank you for stopping and commenting, Tommie. You are right, it is in obeying, even when we are not comfortable that we gain unexpected blessings.

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  6. Yes, Nancy, this taught me a lesson about God's generosity. He will provide what we need the most.

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  7. Yes, Janette. We need to rely on Him. He will provide everything, as long as we trust Him and go where He leads.

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  8. Christine, I was fortunate, the churches I was looking for were of the same denomination and so I knew what to expect from the service, at least for the most part. Churches often times have a few small differences, but nothing too big.

    It is hard to find a church family in a new area. There again, we must trust Him to lead us where we should be. Thank you for stopping in and commenting!

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  9. That's great. I'm glad you had a good experience.

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  10. What a blessing this must have been to you. As a pastor may i make a suggestion? Send a note to the pastor with this story attached. He will be blessed to receive conformation of a job well done by his congregation.

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  11. Don't you just love it when we let God have the control just by following Him. That was an awesome gift. Such a blessing to read. Thank you for sharing with all of us. :)Finding home can be difficult at times. I am so thrilled that you found a place and a new friend to boot!

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  12. Thank you for the suggestion, George. I just might do that!

    Hope your Christmas was as blessed as mine!

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  13. Tonya, it was a wonderful blessing. We do have an awesome God, don't we. He cares about everything, even whether we attend church alone or not. We are truly blessed.

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