With Up-Turned Faces

December 2012

by Jeff Neuman-Lee

Lori and Nick have a dog named Jax. Jax is a girl, sleek and fast enough to make you laugh with amazement time after time after time as she darts after a ball leaping to catch it in midair. It’s late at night, I’m walking by and she’s been sleeping on a stuffed chair, but then she senses my presence, looks up at me and wags. I grab her neck behind her ears and give her a good morning pet. She loves the attention.

It reminds me how I feel on Christmas Eve at the Christmas Eve service. I feel like a kid who only has to look up to God, hearing all the scriptures of promise, singing all the old songs, standing with friends and family who have chosen to live their lives in love, listening to friends who bring music with a new take on things, and silently holding a candle of peace. It is like my face turns up to the Lord, hoping that God will (metaphorically) give me a good, reassuring rub. And I’m not disappointed.

The children need their eyes to glisten with hope. They need to remember that in dark times, the darkness does not win, that the Holy Spirit fills us each with courage. The children need to care for each other, to hold each other, and together look upward.

Yup, we children need that.

Now Jax has long ago given up on me; I’ve been sitting here writing for Carolyn. Carolyn wants to get the Chimes out the day after Thanksgiving, and that’s now today. Jax has climbed onto the couch next to R.J., Nick’s little brother. Their eyes are tight in rest.