Oh Christmastime, Oh Christmastime

The gifts of being the church

The gifts of being the church

I have a question for you, friends. Is there anyone else (besides me that is) who is nutty enough to go to the US Post Office to mail packages on the busiest day of the year? I would love to hear about your experiences. I personally had a ball. Here is why.

When I walked in the small building in Downtown Golden, this past Monday morning, the line was at least fifteen deep (I know because I counted). I assessed the wait would be about one hour. That turned out to be an underestimate because there was only one clerk behind the desk, and each person in line had at least three packages. There were some folks who came in after me, looked at the line, snarled, cursed and walked out. So did they not hear on the news this was going to be a day of extraordinarily long lines at the local mailing depot? Ah, well. I had heard that particular piece of good news and went forth anyway.

I admit, I sighed through a forced smile at the first impression upon my entrance. But then I took out the book I brought with me and began reading. I am always prepared to avoid doing nothing and wasting time because not doing anything is considered sinful and almost un-American in this culture, no?

My reading was interrupted when my eyes followed what my ears heard in front of me. There was a young child, about seven, who was practicing a new dance step. As you can imagine, this began a conversation about dance. It turned out this was a little lady who was just learning to tap dance and loved it. Her mother also is a dancer. Oh joy, oh joy, kindred spirits in the Post Office line. Now I was happy.

This was only one of many conversations I had while I waited that morning. I met a man who was a former professor at CU, a lady whose children spent years in competitive Irish Step Dance, a woman who admired my home-made, knitted scarf (and talked about her love of knitting too), and a former clown who is interested in possibly becoming an elf next year.

Wow, what a morning. And as I left that place, I realized in this madcap season of gift-giving, God had offered me a wonderful gift to share with you. Every church I have ever been in talks about how to do church better and differently so that we can attract more people and grow. But here’s the deal my beloveds, we don’t need to do church – we are the church. To talk with folks, listen, learn, take interest in others, and be part of making a situation better and more tolerable – that’s being Christ’s hands and feet on this planet. So, the next time you are in a crowded store, a long line, congested traffic or even a festive Christmas party, just remember – we are the church.

At the risk of boring you to tears, I will just repeat, “We are the church.” It doesn’t matter where we are, what we are doing (or not doing), we are the church. This little package mailer saw very clearly, on the busiest mailing day of the year, there are always new ways to engage in our world if we walk in the understanding that “We belong to each other.” And this year, I am looking through a new lens and rejoicing in the opportunities of Christmastime and being the church.

Copyright December 2014
Laura L. Padgett
Lakewood, CO

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