That is the candle I lit at our church’s Christmas service this year. Since our church takes the last Sunday in December off every year this was a time to reflect on 2013 as we ended our last time in church for 2013.
As we sang the song Silent Night, the pastor invited any of us who wanted to, to come to the front and light a candle representing that God did something significant in your life this year.
“Maybe God intervened in a way in your life this year that was unexpected. We’d love for you to light a candle as we sing and celebrate with you and others.”
Thankfully in moments when I am a bit frozen and afraid to draw attention to myself, my wife has the intuitiveness to lead. She leaned over and whispered, “You want to go get a candle with me?”
Silent Night is only 3 verses long, so we didn’t have an hour to meditate on 2013. But the year flashed before my eyes as candles were lit all over the room.
If I wrote a lengthy book I wouldn’t be able to adequately describe 2013.
But graciously, God showed up in the Avera’s lives in Atlanta in ways that were incredibly unexpected and totally ridiculous.
“God, do you think I’m annoying?”
“No. I’ve never thought that. I’ve never grown tired of being close to you.”
“God, can you be my mother?”
“My grace is sufficient enough that I don’t have to be confined to only the role of Dad. I can meet you where you are. And I’m willing to open my arms to you and reveal my love for you in whatever way you most need at the moment. My answer is yes. I can be your Dad, Brother, and even your Mom”.
Those reading this will never be able to fully understand why we asked those questions last year. Definitely won’t be able to understand the answers and the depth to them in the way that we were able to.
And that is ok.
As the third verse of Silent Night was sang and we held our candles I openly cried (mini-shoulder heaving occurred). And it felt so good.
Because I was still holding onto my wife’s hand.
And Jesus was still holding onto us.
And the three of us were crying and thanking each other for the love that was shared between us in such an intimate way in 2013.