The Invitation

The Invitation

What a week it’s been!  Quite a whirlwind.  Today was unlike any other, though.  Gabe woke up bright and early at 5:30, which is not unusual.  What IS unusual is that he wet his bed.  Not too bad of a start to the day, but could have been better.  Our morning went by pretty smoothly. . . . he took a very early nap at 8:00 and woke up at 10:00ish.  And THAT is when the bottom fell out.  It started off slow and not so bad.  He wanted to be held, he wanted down, etc.  Whatever he wanted at the time just wasn’t happening fast enough.  By 1:00 the mild whining progressed to full on fit having.  This lasted until we left the house at 4:15 and continued until he finally passed out at 5:00.  He proceeded from 5:45 to 6:15 until we arrived at my aunt’s house, where he put on his nice face and play acted until he got back in the car seat, where he grew louder until we got to our destination.

Needless to say, by the time we finally got out at Philadelphia Baptist I was tired, worn out, and only slightly miffed.  Not only did Gabe show his behind for a good part of the day, but I am also coming down with a cold (frustrated, tired mommy with a cold + one VERY cranky 15 month old = IMMINENT DANGER FOR ALL).  Anyway.  So we come up to PBC, where my grandmother would be taking part in the church’s Christmas cantata, and he’s still being a stinker.  So my aunt suggests that I take him to the nursery where he can play & be around other small, loud people.  So I take him.  I hate to say this, and I’m sure someone is going to call the state on me for being a “bad mom”, which I am not, but WHAT A RELIEF!  Finally.  A moment where the only thing I’ll be hearing for a couple of hours is singing.  I can handle that!

But of course, being in the mood I’m in, I don’t even feel like hearing people sing.  If you’re a church regular, you know that there are people who sing in church because they feel lead to do so and they’re doing it for the glory of God… not for your benefit.  You ALSO know, and don’t tell me I’m the only one who has thought this ’cause I know I’m not, that there are some people who sing that really oughtn’t.  I don’t mean that to be ugly.  I applaud them for getting up there & worshipping God in what really is a beautiful way.  You don’t see me up there, that’s for sure!  But if you’ve been to church, in the South especially, you know that there’s always that one person who cannot sing, bless their heart, and they often times take part in the annual Christmas gathering.  I figured that this was one of those things and that it wouldn’t be anything spectacular.  Well.  Brace yourself for this:

I WAS WRONG.  Mark it on the calendar; it finally happened!  Hell has frozen over!  Sarah was WRONG!  No, I’m kidding.  But all joking aside I really was terribly mistaken!  The performance tonight was purely phenomenal.  Seriously.

I couldn’t help thinking tonight as we were driving to Pineville how much I was going to hate being there.  Not that I hate going to church, because I really love it.  But bigger churches in our area tend to lean more towards the…. overly preachy, “you take my word and run with it or you’re gonna BURN!”.  Yeah.  I pretty much hate that.  There is no better way to push people from the truth than the “listen or burn” speech.  Take it from someone who’s been raised Southern Baptist.  We all get that speech at least once, sometimes more, in our life.  But much to my surprise, and delight, this particular Christmas program was nothing like that at all.

Describing it in detail is impossible.  I will say this, though.  Everything, from the props to the music choice, was fantastic.  The music & vocals were beautiful.  And the props, although nothing spectacular, were more than appropriate and fitting.  The actors and actresses were incredible and sounded real — not rehearsed.  But even aside from the music, and the props, and the acting… God was definitely present.  And that, above all, is what really matters.  The moment it began, my bad mood and aggravations disappeared.  The longer I sat there and listened to the songs and heard the dialogue, the more at ease I felt.  For a holiday that, as I have said before, is chockfull of commercialism, the reminder they gave us all was such a brilliant gift.  In every song, in every word, in every line there was gentle but obvious reminder that JESUS, not gifts… not struggles… nothing, but JESUS is the REASON FOR THE SEASON, truly.  I feel calling it a performance is pretty much the understatement of the year.  This magnificent, yet humble, display of their love for God was outstanding.  Each and every choir member, every actor, every soloist is flawed and imperfect.  The message the actors spoke and the choir sang made that all so clear.  But in every song and every line spoken, there was a resounding truth.  And that truth is no matter how horrible you might be or have been, no matter how despicable you feel, GOD IS ALWAYS THERE TO PICK YOU UP.  No matter how hard the fall, or how long the run.

After a day like today, I definitely needed to be reminded of that.  I felt like a dog for yelling at Gabe and for getting so frustrated.  My imperfect, selfish ways certainly impede my walk with Him.  But He is always there to forgive, and He always, ALWAYS, forgets.  We are lowly, unworthy humans.  We’ve all got our own agendas and schedules… more often than not, our agendas & such do not include much, if any, time with God.  The killing thing is, we’re not even half as busy as God will ever be…. and yet He always finds more than enough time for us; lowly humans.

Tonight, I am thankful that I didn’t turn the car around and go back home.  Tonight, I am thankful for the message that the people at Philadelphia Baptist presented.  Tonight, I am thankful for the reminder that God is ever-present, whether I can feel Him around me or not.  Tonight, I am thankful.  Thank GOD for His everlasting love and forgiveness.  We would be lost without it.

Revelation 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

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