By Carol Brown
I thought I had my weekend all planned. On Friday, I would finish my Christmas shopping and on Saturday, I would bake and wrap gifts. And I would do it all in a calm, unrushed, peaceful way. I organized my lists, checked them twice, and prepared to accomplish it all in a most efficient manner. I was looking forward to the joy of completing my lists.
Then I remembered that the Fuller Center of Macon was doing a repair project on a house on Saturday morning and I probably needed to participate. I enjoy volunteering with the Fuller Center - I believe in the importance of providing safe, decent homes to families who could not otherwise afford them. I have volunteered at Blitz Builds in Indiana, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia. And I fully support our new Fuller Center covenant partner right here in Macon. But...it was mid-December and I had my list all ready.
So, I set aside my list, put on my paint-covered jeans, and set out at 8:00 a.m. (on a Saturday!) to find a trailer in east Macon in need of a front porch and steps. What I found was a new definition for Christmas joy. When I arrived, I found that Dianne Fuller had lined up a great team of skilled and willing-to-learn volunteers who made quick work of digging post holes, setting posts, and building a sturdy front porch for a home in desperate need of attention.
While the skilled volunteers worked on the porch, Dianne and I were able to get to know the family members who lived in the home. The four adults and three children, who called the run-down trailer home, quickly became our friends as we shared stories of parenting, illnesses, and experiences of faith. Dianne and I set up our soccer chairs in the front yard and were soon joined by four-year-old Anthony and two-year-old Kira, who climbed up in our laps and kept us warm on a cold morning.
Mrs. Lewis, the grandmother, brought out a metal folding chair and joined us in the yard. As we watched the porch progress, Mrs. Lewis shared her fears about her husband's health and her worries about her daughter's disability. The three of us joined hands and, with tears in our eyes, we began to pray for Mr. and Mrs. Lewis and their children and grandchildren. With the sound of hammers and saws in the background and the prayers of three women drifting up, I knew that God was with us.
God is with us. That's the real joy of Christmas, and I almost missed it. The joy of Christmas is not just that God came to us as a baby born in a stable, but the joy of Christmas is that God is with us today. God is with us on our shopping days and our baking days and our sit and pray days. I thought I'd find Christmas joy in completing my lists, but I found it in the front yard of a trailer in east Macon.