Monday, December 25, 2006

CHRISTMAS EVE 2006

FULL, EXHAUSTING, SATISFYING. We had a full, exhausting, satisfying Christmas Eve, the first time in many years, it seems, that it has fallen on a Sunday. Christmas Eve on Sunday unusually complicates the Hay and Sheffield Christmas traditions, as this day is typically given fully to family gift exchanges in Indianapolis and New Castle--with a hurried return across Interstate 70 for the 11:00 pm Christmas Eve Service at North United Methodist Church. Today, however, we observed the fourth Sunday of Avent in morning worship, exchanged gifts with my parents, sister and her family in the afternoon, conducted the Christmas Eve Service at WEMO at 6 pm, then drove to New Castle to be with the Sheffields. We arrived back home in Indy just before Midnight.

READY NOW. I now have a sense of completion and satisfaction that eluded me to this in the season and in preparations for Bicycle India 2007, for which we depart on Tuesday, December 26. Maybe I needed the closure that Sunday's services made possible. Maybe I needed to rest in the confidence of a soundly-made decision and sense of misison. Maybe I just needed to live Advent. There are still things to tie down before I get on the plane for India, but I feel more at peace about things here than before Sunday. And for that I am most grateful.

ALL IN THE FAMILY. I looked from the sanctuary platform and pulpit at nearly all my earthly loved ones participating in the morning worship service and breathed a prayer of gratitude. It may only be for a moment, maybe just a cameo, but there was Becky seated beside Abby, our oldest child who is a junior in college. On her other side was Jared, our oldest son who is a freshman at Olivet Nazarene University. There was Molly, ready to get her driver's license. And Sam, our 13-year old who had just given the first Bicycle India 2007 update that he's volunteered to offer the congregation each week I am away. My mom and dad were next to them. And there was my sister with her husband, along with her son, fiance and children. Also in the mix was Becky's parents. All but my sister's daughter and her husband were there. In the service, all the "Hay women" shared a song in ensemble and dad preached as our guest minister. It was a rare and precious moment to me.

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