Repost – December 23, 2020
The snow was falling softly as Azalea climbed into Dahlia’s warm car. Her friend gave her a big smile and reached over to give here hand a squeeze.
“Thanks so much for coming Zal! I promise it will be worth. My family’s going to meet us at the church.”
Azalea just nodded and said “Okay.”
Even though Azalea didn’t feel like saying much Dahlia’s humorous personality soon had her laughing and having fun. When they arrived at the church Dahlia introduced her to her parents, her older sister and her husband and two kids, and her three younger brothers. Everyone welcomed Azalea to their group with eaze and they all walked into the church together. A couple greeted them all and handed each one candles, which they lit from a large candle in the aisle as they walked to a pew. Dahlia’s dad held her mom’s hand when they sat very close on the bench. The rest of the family piled around them, greeting the people in the benches behind them and in front of them, and talking and laughing with each other in such a heartwarming way. Azalea wondered if this was all real or if these people were just on their best behavior. They probably actually hated each other. But Azalea found that theory weakening as she watched everyone in the church giving hugs and laughing and enjoying each other. Many of the girls that looked about her age also came up and extended their kindness and told her how glad they were that she had come. Azalea didn’t know any of them, but they made here feel like a long-time friend.
Soon everyone grew silent as the lights dimmed and a man walked up to the front and lead everyone in the most beautiful acapella singing Azalea had ever heard. Everyone around her was singing with all their hearts, lifting their candles, and pouring out their love for their Savior. Azalea realized these people were serious. No one could fake the emotion and love they were expressing at that moment. Azalea felt a few tears drip down her cheeks as she listened to the singing.
After a few more Christmas songs everyone sat down and the pastor began to speak.
“Would you like to come and have some hot chocolate and cookies at our house, Azalea? We’d be happy to have you!” Grace, Dahlia’s mother, asked as they walked out of the church and back into the biting wind. A blanket of snow covered the ground, just so deep enough to hide the blades of grass. Zach, Dahlia’s dad, said it would stay all night and they’d probably even get a fresh coating Christmas morning.
“I guess,” Azalea agreed, not wanting to leave the the warmth of this family. “My family won’t miss me.”
Grace looked a little concerned but didn’t say anything. “Dahlia, some of the boys wanted to ride with you, is that okay?”
“Sure! Fine with me! Zal?”
Azalea nodded. She thought Dahlia’s little brother were quite fun and entertaining, unlike her annoying, always angry, older brother.
The ride home was quiet, as everyone seemed to be thinking about the pastor’s sermon. He had preached on the Christmas Story and the way he spoke about it had brought a new light to Azalea’s eyes. He said the real Nativity wasn’t like those we set on our mantles and front lawns. The real Nativity wasn’t perfect. Jesus didn’t have a halo, and he had slept in a feeding trough. All he had for clothes was a few rags. Mary and Joseph were probably dirty, cold and scared. The shepherds were smelly. It wasn’t perfect or beautiful. It was messy. Jesus came into a messy world to save messy people. That’s how great his love was.
After lots of laughter, hot chocolate, cookies, and a game, Dahlia and Azalea climbed in her car to go home. When they pulled into her driveway, Azalea paused before climbing out. “Thank you for inviting me. It was really special. I always thought the Christmas story was one big joke. It was too perfect to be real. But I think I’m beginning to understand that that’s not true.”
Dahlia smiled. “I’m so glad! Jesus loves Azalea,” She reached over and squeezed her hand, “And I’m going to be praying for you and your family!”
“Thank you.” Azalea smiled back. She hesitated then continued slowly, “I might be willing to give church a try. Do you think I could come with you on Sunday?”
Before you go, stop by Faith’s blog for all the links to today’s party posts!!
Annnnd enter the giveaway!!! It’s open and will run through Christmas Eve! The winner will be announced Christmas Day. There are some great prizes!!!
Merry Eve of Christmas Eve! *wink* (aka, Christmas Adam)