Sunday we had the opportunity for Miss E to go sing a few Christmas songs at her preschool, which happens to be part of a Baptist church. We went to the first hour at our normal church and then buzzed over for the 10:45 service. And when I say 10:45, I mean it. Pastor Duane is very very prompt. Very prompt.
ANYWAY, so we had a brief opening prayer and sang some Christmas Carols and then the kids lined up and sang two carols before all the children were led down to the Children's Sunday School (that would be Miss A, Miss E, AND Miss O). That left me and Super J and Miss Q to enjoy the sermon, and I gotta say...it's amazing how much one can get out of church when one is not wrestling with the kids.
And it really was a great sermon. Taken from Luke 2: 1-7, Pastor Duane reminded us of Mary truly being heavy with child, in her last week of her pregnancy, and having to travel 80 some-odd miles to Bethlehem. He said they don't know for sure about the donkey but it's a good guess because no woman in her last week of pregnancy is walking 80 miles. So true.
And then he continued by saying that Mary and Joseph were really outsiders. Here's Mary, unmarried and pregnant with what she says is the Child of God. And here's good Joseph, who would have had just cause to leave the whole situation, but instead, stands by her. And they are traveling alone. 80 miles, during her last week of pregnancy, to go be counted so they can pay higher taxes. Normally, at this point, Pastor Duane reminds us, the soon to be mother would be having her baby surrounded by family and friends and a midwife who was well acquainted with both, would be attending, but Mary did not have this. Nor did she deliver in a beautiful and comfortable place. Pastor Duane then "submitted" to us that Mary probably wanted to place her new baby in a beautiful and comfortable place, as any new mother would. Just think, he asked us, when you had your first baby. You set up the nursery, you washed the bedding, you prepared to have the finest you could have. But Mary had a manger, and she did the best she could. This means, Pastor Duane continued, that God does answer prayers. He always answers, but not necessarily the way we want them to be answered because Mary did have a place to put her newborn. Furthermore, however, the baby Jesus was laid in a MANGER, of all things. Not the finest crafted crib. And guess what? Yep. He turned out just fine. This is something that we should remember at Christmas time, the Pastor said. We don't need the finest and the fanciest to be who we are meant to be.
I really appreciated that service and that sermon, as it spoke to me. It's really given me quite a bit to think about. Interestingly, later that evening, we went to Super J's sister's Lutheran Congregation to watch our niece and nephew's Christmas Program. Three churches in one day. That's a lot of churching.
Sometimes it really is quite wonderful to go and hang out with our fellow Christians.