What gets lost at Christmas is how much we need other people. Yesterday’s worship gathering and events like our Christmas Eve gathering remind us that our life with Jesus is a community project. Yesterday’s gathering was emotionally charged because of the murders last Friday in Newtown, CT. For parents, this is a more traumatic event than 9/11. What we’re feeling in the wake of such brutality goes far beyond empathy; we have been shaken to the core of our being and we feel vulnerable as we come to grips with the uncertainty of it all and the emotional riptide that lurks just beneath the surface.
We needed each other yesterday. If you were there (or connect with our podcast), you know that reading John Piper’s The Innkeeper as part of the sermon was difficult for me. There were lots of tears during the gathering - because of Connecticut, because this was Jim Tocci’s last Sunday as part of our Protege team, because every time I hear Aaron sing Derek Webb’s ‘Deliver Us’ I remember him singing it days after his dad’s death several years ago - and there were lots of hugs and high-fives and laughter. Yesterday we were a family.
I’d love for us to do this again before we close the books on 2012. Maybe without the raw agony of Newtown. But what if we came back together on Christmas Eve to be family. To be honest and cling to hope. To practice the life of courage, compassion and deep connection we want to be known for.
I know for some of you that means you’ll be driving in from out of town. And I know that’s asking a lot, particularly if you have family and friends from back home with you. But maybe those few moments around 5:00 on Christmas Eve will help bring Christmas together. For you. For me. For us.
With Christ as our Comfort and Joy,
PS - Here’s the link to yesterday’s sermon. Real comfort and real joy for real sinners and sufferers.
PSS - Here’s a video of John Piper reading The Innkeeper. Masterful.