It is a week until Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve, in the Brooks family, was always a time to celebrate around our Christmas Tree and enjoy egg nog and open, one, present. After all, you can not open all of the presents before Santa Claus makes his, worldwide, sleigh ride. I used to look at the size of chimneys and ponder how the ‘Jolly Old Elf’ was able to fit down them?
When we began attending First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, Illinois, we were told by our friend, Carol, that we did not want to miss the churches Christmas Eve service. So, 21 years ago, our church began their Christmas Eve Service at 11:00 P:M:. The sanctuary was packed and folding chairs were set-up in the back to facilitate the overflow crowd that was in attendance. The church seemed to have beautiful, brilliant red, poinsettias everywhere. There was a large and ornate Christmas Tree in the Narthex. There were several nativities placed throughout the building. The Christmas Carols and hymns and the old world ambiance was reminiscent of Charles Dickens London…I looked for Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit. As the service concluded, shortly after midnight, we sang ‘Silent Night,’ by candlelight…and we greeted each other with a hearty, Merry Christmas!
This Christmas Season, I have had the profound pleasure of seeing some friends of mine, realize that they are appreciated and respected and seen by the community that they are a part of. It is a moving experience to watch a fellow human being who has felt, somewhat marginalized or invisible, realize that they are loved and a vital part of the work of the organization!
So often we pass the, cleaning person, and do not stop to consider their contribution to the success of our church or school or company.
Perhaps the clerical worker is working hours of unpaid time…because she/he loves the University and subsequently takes the burden of many on their shoulders?
Our church could not function without the expertise of our Administrative Assistant, Barb, and her compassionate caring for all who she encounters. Her ministry to the homeless and the needy, of whom she speaks with daily, should be entered into the ledgers of excellence!
Sara, professionally and with love, takes care of our childcare on Sunday mornings and at other times during the year. Her wisdom and measured and thoughtful handling of this vital service that our church provides, is exemplary!
Carlyn, is our, Music Director, and the Choir and our church love her! She is the holder of two, extremely vital, talents. She is a virtuoso in her field and she has the finest people skills that I have witnessed.
One of the first things that I noticed when I began attending First Pres, was that virtually everyone in the congregation volunteered in some type of worthy endeavor! They are, to this day, the most diligent and hardest working group of people that I have ever been associated with. Many of the people that I am referring to are in their; 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s!
Time and again, I was overjoyed to see members of the Building Services Staff at SIUC…honored for what they brought to the success of, and the recruitment, and retention, of our students! I have witnessed, quiet and reserved custodial workers, become leaders of their peers and contribute, expertly, to the success of their University.
We had a Chancellor who’s name was, Jo Ann, who recognized, by name, every kitchen laborer, and Grounds worker, and Building Service Worker, and Skilled Craft worker…and they loved her for it and would do anything for her!
I wrote of my friend, Patch, the other day. He appeared to be either homeless or from mean circumstances. Jonathon and I spoke with him, at church, for 20 or 30 minutes. When we parted, he said that he wanted to thank us for taking the time to talk with him….I appreciate that he took the time to talk with us!