Christmas with family

Are you shaking your head in disbelief like I am that Christmas is actually 3 days away at this writing? I mean where did an entire year go?! I actually sat down today without a topic to write about. It’s an emotional time for me, this Christmas. Because this is the first one I’ll spend alone, that I can remember. My emotions are mixed. There is, of course, all the joy of the season that comes along with this time of year for me. It’s just a beautiful time, even with all the hustle and bustle, the increased work-flow in music ministries as we prepare and deliver all of the extra rehearsals and performances the season demands.

We’ve gotten all of the programs, performances and Christmas caroling behind us and we’re all breathing a collective sigh of relief this week. And that feels good. I think of all the people in our music ministry at my church that I’ve had the honor of working with all these years. All of the ups and downs, challenges, personnel changes. All of the highs and lows. We have shined and dazzled and ministered at the highest of heights together. And we have struggled, stumbled, and missed the mark together. But we have continued to come together, week after week to pray, then rehearse and perfect our craft so that God may be glorified. And then, regardless of who shows or who doesn’t, stand on our post and deliver.

And at a time in my life where a part of my heart aches just a little as I miss that joy of being awakened Christmas morning and dragging into the living room to watch the kids open their toys; a time when I often feel the most …regret, I guess I’d call it- I’m happy when I think about family. This Christmas Eve I’ll be at my sister’s house for her annual Christmas Eve family get-together. I can’t wait to just be around her, hug her, hang out with her, pull her aside and have private conversations with her.

My brothers will likely be there- two guys whom I’d rather hang out with more than any other men I know. We have a bond that transcends the bloodline we share. They are my close, dear friends. My younger brother’s fiance Courtney, who is so much a part of us now that it seems strange to even think about a time she wasn’t around. My mom and step-father will likely come. Just thinking about it now I smile. I can see it in my mind, that warm, festive atmosphere of love, laughter and sharing.

But then comes Christmas morning. And I think to myself, wow. Christmas morning I’ll be alone. I don’t get to wake up to a wife and kids anymore. Heck, this year I don’t even have a girlfriend! And in some small way it kinda makes me sad a little. That is, until I remember that this year Christmas is on a Sunday. And I’ll be honest with you. In years past I haven’t gone to the holiday services because I simply wanted to stay home and be with my family. Oh, I know and have heard all the arguments, and they all make perfect sense. But I’ve just honestly always felt like you know what, I should be able to at least have the holidays where I don’t have to get up and drag my family out to church- or worse yet, get up and go by myself.

But this year is different, because I live alone. Heck, my kids are teen-agers anyway now. But being in this place at this time has caused me to really feel and think differently about going to church this Christmas Sunday. This Sunday I can’t wait to be there. Not just because there’s nobody here though. But because I understand now that when I’m at my church, I’m with my family. Many of them are life-long friends I’ve known since I was a boy. Recently I was involved in a new relationship, and when it was time for her to go to my church with me for the first time I couldn’t believe how nervous I was about it. And how important to me it was that she meet them. It was literally no different than introducing her to my mom, my sister and my brothers. No less important than when I introduced her to my boys.

Yes, this Sunday I’ll be spending Christmas with family after all. My church family. My band. My praise team. My choir. My friends. My family. And when I get there I’m going to hug as many of them as I can get to before church starts. Then I’m going to take my place at that keyboard and give God everything I’ve got until it’s over. And then, I’m going to make my way to as many more of them as possible before they rush off to their homes and back to their families.

I’m going to tell them how much I love them, one at a time. And how blessed I am to serve with them week after week for so many years now. Monica, our organist and my dear friend for over 30 years. Cory, our bass player who I watched learn his craft in the church right around the same time I was learning keyboard. Pastor let us both practice on the whole church, and it wasn’t good in the beginning. Now he’s one of the best in our area. His brother Justin, who is one of the most musically aware drummers I know. I don’t even like to call him a drummer. He’s a musician, who can help out with parts, direct, keep the beat driving and catch every break all at the same time.

Sharon, who has been my dear friends since we were both teen-agers. Now she’s my choir president. Amazing. And I could share a brief story like that for almost every member. Yes, this year my situation is definitely different. But I’ll still be spending Christmas morning with family. And together we’ll be praising and worshiping and glorifying God with the gifts He gave us all.
Have a wonderfully blessed, joyous Christmas. Thank you for being a faithful reader and supporter of the Music Ministry by just reading this blog twice a week. I want you to know, you mean the world to me! [youtube ktwNT5AdNlQ]

God bless you,

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