A Christmas Gift of Belonging

19 Dec

I had already been attending the White Plains Presbyterian Church for a year since my retirement in December 1998 from a congregation I loved and had served as pastor for almost 20 years.

It was at the Christmas pageant at WPPC in 1999 that I knew that this was my congregation, that I truly belonged, and that I was at home.  The whole congregation was made to feel included in the action, as a family.

I remember that Sunday, when I arrived for worship and learned that the service was not being held in the sanctuary, as we were re-directed to our auditorium in the Church House.  I was annoyed and in a bad mood, because I wanted to hear the organ music and be in our beautiful sanctuary.  I even mentioned something about my displeasure to one of the men who was an adult participant with the children that day.  I was afraid we were not going to have a “real” church service that day, which is what I selfishly thought I needed in my narrow imagination.

As the pageant began, the developing story was taking place all around us, and we were all participants.  The pastor was the innkeeper, and the lambs cavorted right next to us, and we sang with the children and the angels.  And I was part of it….  moved deeply as I discovered the joy and delight of being a member of this family of mine of all races and generations recalling together the old, old story of the love of God that comes to us at Christmas. 

Isn’t this the great blessing of Christmas in our church family and with our loved ones – being open to God’s grace as Christ comes once more to our hearts. 

Thank you, White Plains Presbyterian Church, for these fourteen years we have been together, as you have welcomed me into this family of ours.

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