Daily Gratitude Year Four-Day 342: Today, I am grateful for our annual caroling trip to Restmor.
One of the things our congregation teaches practically from the cradle is service. This has been such a rich part of my children's growing up that I am not sure I have the words to express the fullness of my gratitude. Service to "the least of these" is driven not by reward, but by a calling. It is "what we do do."
Last night we caroled at the local nursing home where several of our congregation reside. We probably had 10 or more residents,staff and family members greeting us at the door. The welcome was grand and put the kids right at ease. We walked the halls and sang. The children were so well behaved and eager to participate.
We strolled different wings and had plenty of songs to sing. The children sang of Jesus, but they sang of Santa, too. I was stuck by the innocence of our children. They could barely contain the giggles as they begged to sing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" at every stop. Their innocence has been protected. Again, I found myself feeling emotional. (Perhaps my Dressember experience has the many children robbed of their innocence heavy on my heart.)
We had the joy of seeing a resident we have known over the years, still there and happily heard him sing "O Tannenbaum" in German as a duet with our faithful servant Julie Largent. Some of the residents grew up speaking German and "Silent Night" was also heard in their native tongue. (Thank you Anna Barnlund, I could still join in on that version from Madrigal days.)
The children had prepared and carried colored pictures and candy canes to the residents. I saw the joy in the eyes of those who have no children who visit or live nearby. I found myself choked up as I recognized a patient in a wheel chair with movements I am sure were Huntington's disease. One of our sweet children ran right over and gifted her with a coloring page, never hesitating because she moved in strange ways. The beauty of it caught me off guard and I found myself swallowing the tears.
There is a very real reason that Jesus instructed us that we must become like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven and offered woeful warnings to those who stood in the way of the children who seek him. Wise men seek him. Children find him with less effort. Their simple faith is a powerful thing. They love with open hearts.
I am so grateful our Wednesday KidZone has continued the tradition for so many years. It fills me with smiles to see the children get excited and look forward to the trip. It was pure delight to be invited to join them once again this year, even though I have stepped down from a leadership role.
My cup overflows. Thank you Brayton Boss for the organization and to all who came to join us. It is one my favorite nights of the year. Mulit-generational service is the best kind of activity (add music and it is my sweet spot).
We try to lead the children... but then the children... in faith... turn right around and lead us.
Today, I am grateful for our annual caroling trip to Restmor.