This morning at 10:30am the childen and youth of Centerville UMC will present their Christmas musical "Christmas Letters" in the church sanctuary. The kids have worked very hard and I expect that it will go well with an occasional miscue here and there.
The children have been practicing on Tuesdays after school. They come in with smiles, tons of energy, hungry, talkative, and lots of school paraphenalia. This Tuesday, a couple of the kids showed up a little early, breathless and laughing. I looked at them and said, "Did you run all the way here from school?" (their school is about 5 or 6 blocks from Centerville UMC) They looked up at me and said, "Of course! We always run from school to practice!" It was obvious from their expressions that "running to church" gave them great pleasure and that this was the place they really wanted to be on Tuesday afternoons. When I mentioned to a few of them that Sunday was their program at church and that this would be the last Tuesday afternoon practice, they looked crestfallen and disappointed. One child actually said, "Can we come to church next Tuesday anyway?"
Running to church........with enthusiasm and joy! I love it! As a pastor, I pray that all of the folks who come to Centerville UMC for worship and/or the numerous activities at the church throughout the week are "running with joy" to get there simply because they are excited to be in the place of worship, fellowship, learning, joy, and most of all meeting Jesus Christ in His church. And I pray that we continue to welcome them, encourage them, and thank God for their presence.
Are your "running to church" this morning? Or sometime this week? Or sometime during this Advent and Christmas season? I encourage you to get out there and make your way to church. You might just find the same kind of enthusiasm and joy that our children and youth have been finding these past 8 weeks or so. And certainly, Christ will find joy in your being in His house of worship.
1-2 On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.
3 Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn't make him.
We're his people, his well-tended sheep.
4 Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
5 For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.