Sunday, December 19, was the fourth Sunday in Advent, and Jennie Adams lit the candles in the advent wreath adding the candle of Love. Rev. Bob Brooks provided the congregation with a message on love and joy. This was Pastor Bob’s first visit to Bethany, and he commented on the beauty of our sanctuary causing me to look around and see it from a fresher perspective. Garlands of greens adorn the edges of our chancel and our beautiful creche graces the center of the chancel. Bright red poinsettias form a cheery backdrop, lovingly provided in honor and memory of our loved ones by our congregation. A giant Christmas tree twinkles in the narthex at the entry of our sanctuary. My heart is warmed. I think back to 2007 when I stood across the street, fighting back tears, and watched smoke and flame consume our previous church building, My husband at my side and our son Parker, very young then, running around us during the sad and stressful time. I thought about the feelings of loss and disappointment and concern that we would never again have a place to worship. It took a long time to rebuild, but we did. Many hours went into the planning of the rebuild and much prayer, but here it is. We will forever be grateful to all the donations that we received from so many.
Parker and I were changing the sign out front Monday to announce the upcoming Christmas Eve Service. It was cold and blustery. We walked arm and arm back to the main building. Parker drew a deep breath and said,, “I love this place.” My heart swelled. Yeah. That is the beauty of this church….the love. The love from others, the love for each other, the love for our church, and the love of and for our God. It is a beautiful place Pastor Bob. Thanks for reminding me.