We attended the 10 p.m. service at a church pastored by a friend of ours. I told Anna I expected to cry sometime during the service because I expected to experience God's presence. I never cried or even shed a tear. We didn't sing enough to suit me, but there were plenty of liturgical elements. Overall, it was fine.
Christmas morning, we had a few presents to open. We opened them, discussed their significance, embraced each with joy and thanked the giver of each. We then prepared our traditional Christmas breakfast. April's brother and wife went to their daughter's house for the morning, so the kitchen was all ours.
When I prayed over the meal before we ate, I prayed we were thankful this year because "we're in your hands and in your arms." That was it. I didn't script or prepare in advance what to pray, but those spontaneous words made me cry in God's presence.
This was a gift. I didn't sense the Lord's presence the night before. I did encounter him in that moment of prayerful thanks over the meal and our year in God's care. It was truly a gracious gift to me.
We are recipients of grace and mercy this year. Though there has been sacrifice and suffering while we've sought to follow what we believe the Lord has inspired us to pursue, our family has been in the hands and arms of our heavenly Father.
Whatever follows, I believe, will be unique. We'll witness the goodness of God in our circumstances and the embrace of our Father's arms as we reside in his hands. Alleluia.