When I was a little girl, my younger brother and I would lie on our backs on the floor, and slide against the burnt orange texturized carpet until our heads were under the Christmas tree. We would pretend we were in a mine of gem stones gazing up at the vast multi-colored treasures forgetting where we were while our feet rested firmly against the aging 1980s flooring. It took me years to fall out of love with the soft reddish glow of multi-colored Christmas lights. Nostalgia has a way of shaping the heart’s desire.
What I didn’t know then was it wasn’t the created Christmas wonders my heart held dear. It was and is the Creator – the true reason for the season – that caused me to love everything that represented the holiday. As an adult believer, I now understand Christmas is a time we celebrate the Creator with the created.
As a church, the Shandon family has spent several weeks planning and preparing a Christmas table where everyone is invited to learn more about Jesus. Just like when I was a little girl, I still love the beauty of it all. The beauty of the church body coming together in preparation of celebrating Him has humbled and encouraged me, and caused me to pause at the wonder of the Creator.
Only the Lord can bring together the many moving parts that go into the Christmas season. From the church website, to the twinkling lights in the parking lot to the perfectly placed bows on wreaths, so many minds, hands and hearts have played a role in preparing the table.
Thank you, Shandon family, for loving Jesus so much that you want to honor Him with such splendor. We don’t know who the Holy Spirit will bring through our doors during this season. Let us continue to host a banquet that shares the love of Christ to all who are far, curious, confused, broken and begging. Let us swing wide the doors and welcome the stranger, embrace the weary and share the hope of the world with the sorrowful. Let us continue to serve in faith, knowing the Creator was, is and will always be pruning our hearts for Him.
To all who have served, and who will serve during Christmas at Shandon, thank you. Perhaps your God-inspired creations will make the Creator a little more accessible and lot more lovely to a guest at our table.
A sweet and special thanks to those who …
- crafted 3 to 16-ft towering trees (Refuge Custom Building);
- clothed trees, wreaths and garland until fingers were sore (Terri Watts, Julie Williams, Julie Starnes and Lynn Baker);
- tied beautiful gold bows in their sleep (Julie Crowder and Susan Culbertson);
- sprinkled Christmas wonder throughout the Kid's Ministry area (Anne Beasley Pierce);
- created a outside winter wonderland (Illumineers);
- joyfully supported the whims of daydreaming decorators (Operations Team);
- designed a stage full of trees and lights to host worship (Shandon Production & Tech Team);
- a host of ladies who showed up expecting no applause, worked very hard, and slipped out the door with no fanfare (Hospitality Committee);
- those who traded an afternoon of college hijinks to hang out and hang up Christmas wreaths (Shandon College);
- captured the invitation in pictures and more (Communications Team);
- and last but not least, my sidekick and my friend, Merritt Owings.