Sunday, December 16, 2012

Simple Things - M. Laycock

We woke up to a picturesque Alberta winter scene that Sunday - big flakes of snow had piled themselves up against our windows and doors and they were still coming down when we piled ourselves into the car to head to church. A lot of people decided they'd let the snow be an excuse to stay home and enjoy another day of Christmas. I can't say I blame them, but they missed something special.

Because there were only a few kids in each Sunday school class, we combined a bunch and I was able to sit in on the adult class, which was also combined. There were normally two adult classes at that church - one taught by a young man who taught through the scriptures like a university professor. The other was an older, fiddle-playing rancher who used story telling to teach what he saw in God’s word. I enjoyed sitting under the instruction of both of these men, but it was a special treat for me to be there that day when the older man took over the class.

He talked about how he doesn't like Christmas much, until he can disassociate himself from the hustle and bustle, and focus on the good things about Christmas and what the season really means. Then he took one of the church hymnals and turned to a familiar carol. He read the words. Slowly. Then he flipped to another and read the words. Slowly. He repeated this process over and over and, slowly, we all were wrapped in a spirit of wonder and comfort and joy that was enhanced when he played the last carol on his old violin. The man is missing part of a thumb, but he made that instrument sound so sweet. I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes.

When the teacher tried to close the class words seemed to fail him and, well, there really wasn't any need to say anything more. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring the truth of a story home. Sometimes familiar words can suddenly come to life and you see and understand in a new way. As we quietly and, yes, slowly, made our way into the sanctuary for the morning service, our spirits were uplifted, our hearts prepared.

Long ago another elder said – “You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst” (Nehemiah 9:20). As we slip into the next year, I pray we will all slow down now and then so that the simple things can touch us and reveal that Spirit of Christmas to us, all year long. I pray we will all receive that manna and that water, that we might allow it to flow through our stories, to the glory of God.

Marcia's Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada. Her devotionals and articles have won awards in both Canada and the U.S. Abundant Rain, her devotional ebook for writers of faith is now available on Amazon.