christmas eve service. that's where we were tonight - seven of us, sitting in clumps wherever there were empty chairs, attending a christmas eve service in the tiny chapel. elderly . music . truth . tears . worship . asses. family. these were the components of tonight's service.
sandwiched between my dad and my brother's girlfriend, i found myself laughing, crying, bored and entertained all in a little over an hour's time at the service. without fail, when i sit in a christmas eve candlelight service and sing songs about the Savior, about his peace, about his coming to save mankind - when i do this with my family all sitting in a row next to me, i tear up. i tear up because it's sweet music to my ears to see my brothers singing about Jesus, to see them in church - now whether they're there out of obligation to my parents, there because it's tradition or there because they want to be, they're there nonetheless. and i think i tear up because another year is over, it's the end of 2007 and my life is still the same as it was last year, the same as it was in 2002, 2003, 2004... for the most part. it's a struggle.
i laugh at the pastor, cliff, who hates to deliver christmas eve sermons because he's too practical and real for the same sermon every year - for trying to be unique, creative, do something different with the story, so this year he talked about being an ass. yes, it's true. he mentioned the instances in Jesus' life where there were asses in the picture. in these instances (the triumphal entry in specific) the ass had a very important job - to carry Jesus. in his "doggy bag" was the idea that we are not asked to be Jesus, we are just asked to carry Jesus - to take on the important job of being the best ass we can be.
so i guess that's my goal - to take my job as an ass seriously, to love my brothers and rejoice in the victory that they sat next to me in church tonight, to be able to weep when it's necessary and to look at 2008 as promising, to do my best to be in a different place at next year's christmas eve service so my tears of disappointment and heartache may then be tears of joy, tears of relief. we'll see if we're capable - Jesus and his ass...