Monday, December 17, 2012

Comfort and Joy

Photo Credit: Mark Grace

Did you ever have one of those days when you thought, "It just doesn't get any better than this."

I had one of those days yesterday.  It started with Daniel Solis knocking on our door at 8:00 a.m. with pots and pans and a good two pounds of chorizo in hand.  He fixed up the best meal I've had in a long time for our monthly men's breakfast.  Cafe con leche, pan dulce, huevos con chorizo, tortillas and great fellowship.

One of the attendees was another Daniel, Daniel Alonzo, who has been to hell and back this past year.  He lost something like fifty-five pounds on account of a mystery illness, and in the middle of that he and Rachel took in one of their sons and three kids below the age of five.

But here he was healthy again, enjoying breakfast and receiving congratulations on having been named "Grandparent of the Year" by a local Spanish language newspaper.

Photo Credit: Mark Grace
We left the house to go to church where we bowed our heads while the names of 20 children and six adults from Newtown, Connecticut were read.  We all prayed and wept as though they were family members of our own.  While we wept for them we remembered our own children cut down by illness and tragedy over the last few years.

We shared food boxes with everyone in attendance.  We rejoiced with new church attenders who came to tell us how much our church had come to mean to them.  "My life is so much better now that I am worshipping with you all," one said, "I am happy now, free of habits that were killing me.  I thank God for this church.

Later in the day we listened as our children taught us the Christmas story all over again. 

They lifted our spirits as they acted out the nativity drama. Iglesia Bill Harrod's annual Christmas pageant is a one-of-a-kind experience that never fails to make us proud, gives us hearty laughter-- sometimes in the most unexpected points in the program-- and renews our sense of God's presence with us.

Afterward we crowded around to see our newest star, one month old Joel, who debuted in his first Christmas pageant as the baby Jesus.

When the service was over a large group of us caroled all over Ledbetter neighborhood, blessing and being blessed by our ancianitos y los enfermos (elders and the sick from our congregation) who let us serenade them.

Finally we drove to Daniel and Debbie Solis' house for a feast.  We watched the Cowboys pull off an over time victory, then we listened to the President do his best to console family and community members in Newtown.  

Then we consoled one another with our love and hugs and prayers for a blessed Christmas season.

May your Christmas be half as blessed, one-tenth as sacred as the time our church spent together yesterday.  


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