i walked out of the church office in my shiny white satin robe, with a gold rope around my waist, frayed from years and years of use. i left the christmas garland halo in the office because we were short one and i didn't want the pastor's wife to be the only angel without a halo.
yards of fabric in my arms, so i wouldn't trip as i followed the angel train, i positioned myself on stage next to the sorority girl and the farmer playing mary and joseph, rocking the newest edition to the collins family in their arms. i tried not to laugh as all the little kids in the front row waved and smiled, calling our names at us. "angels we have heard on high" ended after the second verse and the narrator began to read again...
"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." his voice trailed off and the clinky keys of the piano played an introduction, followed by two hundred voices raised in the unison singing of we three kings.
"star of wonder, star of light. star with royal beauty bright."
the shadows approaching from the back of the darkness filled sanctuary (usually three teenaged boys in the prime of their life) soon became living forms again as the light crept slowly over the nuances of their faces.
three men. kenny, bob, and dave. tears welled up in my eyes, threatening to spill over onto the long preserved white satin that was wrapped around me. everyone's emotions were clear on their faces that night as they saw kenny walk down the aisle. even on the faces of bob and dave. kenny is 84. his wife has advanced dimensia and he has never loved her more, even through the frustration of her not knowing who he is. he is the most graceful and loving person i have ever met. on sunday nights he will get up at the pulpit and tell stories behind hymns. why they were written. who they were written by. the love of the Lord shines through his eyes constantly at every minute of the day. he has 7 children, 24 grandchildren, innumerable great grandchildren. he has influenced the lives of so many people that he will never know. he is frail. he is old. but he still hobbled down the aisle dressed up in shiny silk robes, carrying a cardboard box, spray painted gold to represent the gold in "gold, francensense, and myrrh." he knelt down at the stage and stayed on one knee for at least 6 minutes. he was facing me, on the stage, and i could see the effects of arthritis in his eyes, but he was still smiling. still happy. still serving the church, the body of Christ. still serving the Lord with all his might.
it is people like kenny that makes me love the small church, the small town. if i went to a large church i never would have met and grown to love this man, who i consider a grandfather.
i am blessed to know him.