I chose moments this Christmastime to be silent.
(Right now my husband is saying, Where was I?)
By that I don’t mean I wasn’t DOING something, but they were intentional acts that bring me a feeling of peace. Wrapping gifts while listening to Christmas music, baking my grandmother’s butter cookies. I was longing for some traditional holiday worship, too. And since we have been church gypsies for the past three years, we had no where we called home.
Then I remembered the tiny Wayside Chapel in the woods and its non-denominational vespers service. The trees, black against the white snow, reminded me life and its choices are not always as gray as we would like them to be. You either love God or you don’t. You are either a sinner in need of redemption or you are not. You either live a faith fully, every day or you embrace your disbelief.
Inside, about 20 people, still bundled in coats and scarves, squeezed into the short pews. The place smelled of old polished wood and pine. Candles reflected in the windows and flickered on the altar. We sang “We Three Kings” and “Silent Night” in the quiet of evening and of unfamiliarity with those around us.
And the minister, a fragile lady who spoke gently as if to children, recalled the journey of the Magi, astrologers from the East, bearing priceless gifts for a baby.
What gifts would we bring him today, if we could? Not what talents or skills or material possessions, she said, but what of ourselves? Wouldn’t it be to live with compassion and hope and kindness and love every single day?
What a gift that would be to so many.