“I don’t know why you are going to do this?” my husband asked with a leery tone attached to his question. “There is a hundred other things you could do that wouldn’t be so tender!” he quickly worked to win his argument.
“Because I think I’m suppose to try.” I attempted to reassure him. “If it hurts, I will leave and come home.” I added, closing any room for his rebuttal. I knew he was trying to protect me from pain, but something in my soul told me to not let his fear stifle the call to serve.
I was anxious as I parked my car and walked to Room 101. A space I had been in so many times before, but not much since Samantha’s accident. You see, located at that end of the breezeway are the children’s Sunday School classrooms and as of late I didn’t have a reason to wander down that way.
But, this past Saturday morning was different. I was following a nudge in my heart to volunteer for Christmas with Christ at our church. This is a special morning for children of our church and community to spend time with Santa as he shares the true Christmas Story.
I knew there would be pancakes to be eaten, pictures to be posed for and Christmas crafts to be carried home. More importantly though, I knew prayers would be prayed, a celebration would take place because of the birth of Christ and time would be spent instilling this life saving message into the lives of little ones.
I was assigned to assist with The Living Nativity, that is gathering the gaggle of kids, helping them get dressed and placed on stage at the appointed time. No problem, I had done this type of volunteer work when my own children had participated.
And, there lies the glitch. The memories and personal moments of past Christmas’s was interwoven with the present, one year Sam was an angel, the next year a sheep. This event was steeped in deep reflection for me.
As I walked into the room with racks of costumes, I wondered how had I found the courage to be a part of it again? Honestly, I wasn’t perfectly positive about being there. Instead, I wondered and kinda worried about the outcome. I have learned its best to not place myself in situations that will exasperate my loss. Surely, this would qualify as such a spot.
Nonetheless, somehow I had arrived with hands willing to help in an environment that had the potential to hurt.
As I opened the Tupperware containers filled with shepherd’s fabric and baby Jesus wrapped in a blanket, I silently questioned, “Am I in the right place? Should I volunteer else where? Will the reward be greater than the risk? Would I be lulled here only to leave with a limp?”
I knew God didn’t work that way. That he doesn’t beckon us to try a new thing only to beat us down. Instead, he calls us to be brave, to step out in faith and to trust Him with everything!
So, with a lump in my throat, I bent down and asked the little girl with shoulder length blonde hair that stood next to me, “”What part would you like to play?” Without hesitation, she bleated out, “I want to be a sheep!”
Game on! I reached for the woolly bodysuit and black socks trying to ignore that my heart had skipped a beat. Just as quick as I tied the string underneath the little girl’s tiny chin, another excited child asked, “Can I be an angel and wear those feathery wings?”
As I pulled the satin sheath over the little girl’s head I raised a question to Heaven, “Lord, did you have to move so quick with me?” I was suggesting to the Almighty that a moment to get warmed up before I was knee deep in memories might help. It was obvious He didn’t agree with my request for starting off slow. Instead, I had to dive right in and get my hands and my heart dirty with helping out.
Once things began to get busy, there wasn’t much time to think about myself. Instead, I worked to respond to each request, ” A shepherd? Of course, here is a robe and wear this tassel around your waist. A donkey? No problem, don’t forget to attach your tail! A wise man? Absolutely, this is a perfect crown for your head.”
After the costumes were complete, I helped usher each precious child down the center aisle during the appointed time in the story as they found their special spot in the makeshift stable surrounding the Christ child.
It was then, looking down the aisle at the children and the completed Nativity scene that I knew why God had me there.
He was reminding me that the Glory of God is greater than any hurt I may have, that instilling that truth into the lives of others is better than any tear I might shed and that we have no way of knowing how much healing has happened until we step away from safe.
With peace, purpose and a positive outcome I escorted the children back to our classroom.
As they hurriedly disrobed from their Christmas costumes, I silently gave thanks for being given the courage to ease away from a comfort zone, for being given a fresh perspective that allowed me to receive the grace of Jesus Christ and for being given the opportunity to help impart the true Christmas story into the precious lives of little ones.
I know it won’t always happen this, that I walk away from a set of circumstances with a deep sense of satisfaction as opposed to a sentence of sadness. However, when joy wraps it glow around the darkness of dread, I know Who is responsible for this special gift.
And, these are the blessings I am receiving to see me through this Christmas season.