It was toward midnight on Christmas Day. My beloved husband was already fast asleep while I was waiting for sleep to come when we received a text message from a choir member whom I gave a gift to. He was apologizing that he couldn’t text earlier for there were many tasks to finish in church after the Christmas Day worship service which lasted for more than 8 hours (regular Sunday service is 7 hours, 10AM to 5PM).
He wanted to express his gratitude for the gift he received from me, and most of all he was thanking the Lord for it. What? He couldn’t wait for the next morning to tell me that? He was gladly thanking me for a shirt that I gave?
My heart surged with happiness. Expression of gratitude from others does that to us, doesn’t it? And I got to thinking that if I, a sinner who had received mercy from the Lord and make mistakes now and then, feel glad to know that what I have given is appreciated, how much more the Lord Jesus whose heart is pure? Wouldn’t He be greatly pleased when we sincerely thank Him for everything we receive from His hand and without postponing?
There are many ways we can show our gratitude to the Lord.
On Christmas Eve, my beloved husband started early in praising and worshiping the Lord. He was in the family room alone and we could here him singing fervently. Although we go through trials, we know, as a family, that we have a lot to be thankful to the Lord for.
After taking some family pictures, we ate supper at around 11PM (this is what we call noche buena) then opened the gifts. Before 1AM everybody was asleep, well, except me. For after I had rested a while, I arose to offer songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. After filling our home, hearts and tummies of His goodness and we were replete, I just couldn’t end the day without thanking Him. And so I sang, expressing my adoration and gratitude to this God who put Himself in a manger so He could bring us salvation.
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)
The following day, Christmas Day, it was ALL spent in Church – singing, praising, worshiping, testifying, listening to the Word of God.
(above photos courtesy of Sis. Maribel Besana)
(Above 3 photos courtesy of Sis. Angelie Averilla)
(Above 2 photos were taken during the overnight service which was also the Thanksgiving celebration; courtesy of Sis. Helen Grace Arcilla)
Our Church has started a tradition wherein all the preachers, prayer warriors, pastoral workers – all of them full-time workers in the Lord’s vineyard who regularly fast and pray, praise and worship the Lord morning and evening, read the Bible, pray for the sick and the lost and visit those who are in prison – are requested to line up in front and the whole congregation is free to bring their gifts to them.
And so, after the closing prayer, the faithful – believers who have learned love – thronged in front, gladly and willingly laying down their gifts.
“And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Mat. 10:42)
Little ones. Humble servants. They are not forgotten by the Lord. And what was laid was more than a cup of cold water, because the Lord’s blessing makes rich. His people grow in grace.
How we celebrated Christmas showed who we were really celebrating, thanking, worshiping.