Lights - Music - Action
Yesterday was a day of countdowns. Our first YMCA basketball game of the year - the clock counting down to our first defeat of the season. The town of Ashland counting down their first annual "Light up the Tracks" illumination. And finally, we ended our evening counting down the minutes and seconds leading up to the Mechanicsville Christian Center "Here Comes Christmas" concert.
Our day was filled with community. There's something about Christmas that not only stresses the need for community, but also seems to deepen the enjoyment we feel while sharing time together. This idea of Christmas joy is a very real thing. This Jesus that lives in our hearts throughout the year comes alive as if He's reliving the manger scene all over again. I think Jesus celebrates with us when He sees large crowds gathered together like we experienced last night with our friends and strangers alike. Maybe Christmas is His way of giving us an annual reminder to use community to spread His joy throughout the year.
All I know is the reminders were way too cool last night:
The Ashland Amtrak station covered in Christmas lights.
5 -4 -3 - 2 -1 ..... The tracks came alive with Christmas lights. What a cool journey this season for Amtrak Passengers riding through our little town. Talk about spreading the light.
The "Here Comes Christmas" concert at Mechanicsville Christian Church simply rocked. I've been to few churches that have the kind of musical talent that lives in this church. I loved the message that Pastor Matt shared during the concert. He compared the lack of peace many of us feel on a daily basis to the stress kids feel worrying about the elf on their shelf delivering "naughty news" to Santa when they misbehave. For kids, there is no cure for that stress. They will live under the constant pressure to be perfect. And perfection is impossible. (Matt, in a sick parenting sort of way many of us can relate to hinted he actually enjoyed that periodic pressure on his kids to behave - even if only for a month). But Matt let us know there is an answer to our greater lack of peace. The baby Jesus born in a manger came to bring us peace. He came to pay the price for our lack of perfection, and to teach us loving one another is much more important than out perfecting one another.
And oh what a peaceful feeling that is. That is the foundation of Christmas Joy.