I don't know about you, but being a ministry family has offered us some unique experiences. Here is an example. Like many, our churches always have at least one, and often more, Christmas Eve services. But there was one especially hectic year when my husband's plans for the services just were not coming together. It was Christmas Eve Day and there was a whole lot left to do. So there we all were in the sanctuary: my spouse, 2 daughters, and myself, with several lay folks working furiously so that the services would be special. However, my cookies were still not baked, our presents were still unwrapped, and the weather was threatening; but there we were. Everyone was pressed into service. My daughter with her newly minted driver's license had to find someplace that was open and buy additional candles. My, then, 7 year-old, was doing something; I have no idea what. I think I was too worried about the older daughter driving in Nashville traffic.
Now, I could have been upset for a number of reasons, but instead I chose to laugh. Would the church people ever know or care? Maybe, maybe not. That really didn't matter. What mattered was that the services were a gift from our whole family. We each had a necessary part and believe me, the services never would have come off without us all. We had fun because we chose to laugh and have fun.
I'm sure you have similar stories. You could have cried, but chose to laugh. You could have been spiteful, but chose to forgive. Actually, I can't always say that I choose the better part. Perhaps you're a better Christian than me, and you can. But my goal for the coming year is to chose the better, more grace-filled, higher road, not out of duty or obligation, but from gratitude for how God sustains our family.
Please feel free to share some of your own Christmas stories.
Kathy is an editor who works at a religious publishing house.