Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Memories ...

Tonight looking out at the full moon, I can't help but be drawn back to a night the last time the full moon actually fell on Christmas Eve ...

That afternoon, the Coast Guard told two families that the search and rescue mission for two missing fishermen was being called off ...

That night in the tiny wooden sanctuary we lit the Christ Candle as the worship service began in complete darkness ...The only light for a moment was the illumination of the moon supplemeted by a single candle lit by the daughter of one of the fishermen ... In that moment we read the words of Isaiah that proclaimed that the people who walked in the darkness had beheld a great light ...

That tiny light in a dark church illuminated only by the full moon hanging over the mountains that loomed to the south reminded us that even in the darkest night light will come ...

That night two families grieved the loss of husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons ... but theirs were not the only losses marked that season ... gathered in the darkness:

was a young mom clutching her children - this would be her last Christmas with her daughters ...
a older friend who's diagnosis would lead him to death within a year ...

and families marking transitions, losses and struggles ...

That tiny light represented so much more than a single candle flickering in the darkness ...

That candle was the light of hope that at times seems feeble and faint, but will flare and burn brightly when faith is lived ...

My journey that night didn't end in the service ... I remember stepping outside into the cold bitter night ... I looked up at the moon floating in a royal blue sky over majestic snow capped mountains and I felt blessed and loved ...

I drove home and arrived in the door to a ringing phone ... it was urgent - I was needed in the village - I had to get there ... apprehension filled my stomach - such a call on Christmas Eve couldn't be good ... Yet, I went ...

I knocked on the door and heard voices call me in ... I entered the home and was told to wait at the top of the stairs ... I watched as he struggled to walk across the room ... I wept as he wrapped his arms around me and thanked me for "everything" I had done ... I laughed as he told me "this is a special christmas present just for you" ...

Six months earlier he had been burned in an explosion on a fishing vessel ... six months ago he had been given less than a 10% chance of living through the night ... six months ago he had been checked into a bed in a distant burn unit while his family waited and prayed ... six months ago he was expected to die ...

And this night he stood hugging his minister, both men weeping tears of joy and relief ... a walking miracle ...

I can't even begin to describe the feelings that washed over me in that moment ... I still tear up at the recollection of the moment ... That Christmas Eve under the full moon it seemed that for a moment the whisper of angels wings was very real and wafting over us ...

Tonight looking out at the full moon I can't help but recall that miraculous evening when the Christmas Spirit was very real and very present ... it's an experience I long to feel again ...

1 comment:

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

My eyes are filled with tears from all the words that you have spoken in this post. Perhaps you are one of the few that have experienced the true joy of Christmas.