For many years, while living in Phoenix, our ministry family found intimate community inside the walls of a beloved church on Christmas Eve. Last year, in our small seaside town, we were wondering where we might worship, if our absence would be noticed by the community we’d enjoyed over the past four years after a church split. This year, our circumstances haven’t changed much.
In the early days of ministry in the desert, our back yard met the asphalt of the mega church parking lot where my husband served as one of fifteen pastors. On Christmas Eve, we padded our shiny shoes through a battlefield of pecans; hair haloed by orange trees, their bounty brushing our velvet and lace. We pushed a large wooden gate open in the center of a cinder block wall like the closet door of Narnia, walking into the sun setting golden, bouncing her light shadows off rows of windshields and arms swinging with gift bags.
Seventy-five people followed us back home after worship, ushering in the heart of Christmas.