Friday, December 25, 2015

Candles And Christmas And Angels And Anniversaries

Merry Christmas 2015 from Edmond, Oklahoma! Santa came and Bennett and Deacon are excited although we had a minor crash on the mini bike that was delivered overnight. We have been watching Meagan open Christmas presents with one of her babies in Africa- AFRICA! Haley is cooking a breakfast casserole and Ben and Courtney with their two will get here later. It's an idyllic scene but without snow....yet. We are all watching the weather which is supposed to take a nasty turn for the worse necessitating a return to Kansas tomorrow instead of Sunday. If any Christmas Day is typical, this one is shaping up as one.

Today was also the anniversary for our parents. Roger Hawley and Nelda Chesshir were married on a Christmas night which was on a Sunday that year after evening services in a little church building outside Nashville, Arkansas. When we were growing up, I never paid any attention to Mom's and Dad's special day because of presents and food and well, it's Christmas! Funny, on her big day, Mom was busy cooking and organizing instead of celebrating her marriage. But that's a small detail when you are a little boy. 

Last night, we did something I don't think anyone in our family group had ever done before- we went to a Christmas Eve service. It was held at the Memorial Road Church of Christ here in Edmond, where Zach and Haley are members along with their boys. There were many who came for the 6 PM gathering. It was very simple. The scriptures telling of the birth of Jesus from the gospels of Matthew and Luke were read, interspersed with the singing of every hymn dealing with the birth of the Savior. I was touched by the beauty of the singing as well as the simplicity of the story around which every bit of history has revolved. I was touched by the beauty of the hymns and intrigued how many mentioned Bethlehem. There was very little comment- very little was required. At the end, all of the congregants lit candles to commemorate the light coming into a dark world. The auditorium glowed and truthfully, so did I. Hopefully, it's a new Hawley tradition.

I teach about the birth of Jesus in depth to roughly 100 kids each year. What's funny is that I can teach about it without really thinking about it. Last night, I thought about it. For example, I thought about the angels! Amazing how many of those carols speak about the role of angels which, of course, is a vital one in this riveting play. I needed that service to tie together why we are out of school and away from basketball; why I drive 1300 miles round trip; why I give and receive gifts; why I was so excited as a little boy in Nebraska. I needed to be reminded of how and especially why the light appeared and made His dwelling among us. Ashamedly, sometimes I have a disconnect just like with my parents' anniversary. Sometimes I need to light a candle. Sometimes, at least for me, probably means on a regular schedule. Well, I'm done confessing for the day. Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary in memoriam, Mom and Dad. I'll do better next year!

Applicable quote of the day:
“You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell him you have received his Christmas gift.” 
John R. Rice 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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