The Indescribable Gift
Journal Entry – December 24, 2016
It’s Christmas Eve. My church family is gathering this very hour to celebrate God’s Indescribable Gift by candlelight. I love the Christmas Eve service and am a bit saddened that I can only join my church family via “livestream.” While I appreciate having this option, it’s definitely not the same as being there.
Last year’s Christmas Eve service is etched deep within my heart. Our family all gathered together sitting in the pew beside Wayne and I remembering the giving of the Indescribable Gift with the birth of our Savior.
My favorite part of the service is a tradition that comes right at the end. Our whole church family gathers around the outer edge of the dimly lit sanctuary, the darkness of which is softened by the glow of a few decorative candles. Each one of us holds a single unlit candle while we sing a beautiful carol. Our pastor lights his candle. Then he lights the candle of those on either side of him. Each individual passing the light of their one candle to another, then that candle lights the next. The sanctuary becoming increasingly brightened by the shared light until we are all basking in the warm glow of candlelight, beautifully symbolizing sharing the Light of the World with one another.
With our granddaughters standing between us with their beautiful faces aglow in soft candlelight, Wayne and I listen to them lift their sweet voices in praise to their Savior. This passing of the candlelight perfectly symbolizes the passing of faith to the next generation.
This year our children are celebrating Christmas Eve with their families elsewhere. My dear mother is not up to venturing out on this mild wintry eve of Christmas. Alzheimer’s has stripped mom of her desire to do things socially, so the three of us are quietly celebrating here at her apartment. Together, we will enjoy a home-cooked meal followed by watching a favorite Hallmark Christmas movie.
I must confess that my mind is awhirl with questions and a few uncertainties tonight. I look at mom and wonder just how many more Christmases we will celebrate together. Will this be her last Christmas with us? Will she celebrate her next Christmas in heaven, a gift she truly desires? If not, will she know who I am next Christmas? Will she be able to stay in her apartment another year, or will this next year bring more difficulties and change?
But, even in the midst of my wondering and pondering heart this year, there is a quiet inner joy. Joy in knowing Christ – the Indescribable Gift. Joy in having a husband who has also received the same Gift. Joy in knowing my mother and father each received the Gift by faith as well. Joy in the knowledge that my children and their spouses have each received that most precious Gift. Joy in the realization that one by one, our grandchildren are receiving this Indescribable Gift by faith too.
The symbolic candle lighting candle brings sweet joy as we are reminded that each of us has received this Indescribable Gift because someone shared it with us.