Flower Guild members were positioning a hundred poinsettias and exchanging Advent's purple bows for red on the wreaths; the piano tuner had belatedly arrived and was addressing the needs of the 1893 Baldwin concert grand in the transept; docents were welcoming wide-eyed tourists; electricians were atop a four-tier scaffold replacing light bulbs in the rafters; a technician was adjusting the screens in the balconies and the camera that would be providing the video feed; light weight folding chairs were being delivered and stacked in conveniently accessible locations . . . it was the eve of Christmas Eve and the level of activity in the historic church was akin to the controlled chaos concurrently being experienced in the homes of many of those who would be converging on the spot to peacefully say their prayers by candlelight the next evening.
The pace was beginning to slow a bit as one group after another completed its contribution when the busyness was suddenly interrupted . . . workman lost control of the scaffold while repositioning it; in a split second it tilted and fell, crashing onto the ancient pews. The hush that followed the splintering of heart pine was louder by far than the sum of all the noise heard in the previous hours - it was also short-lived, quickly giving way to finger pointing, frustration and disappointment by workmen and witnesses alike for schedules and dreams had come tumbling down with the steel.
Was it an accident? Yes; but for those with eyes to see it was also the gift of a tiny glimpse into what Mary and Joseph must have experienced nine months before they placed the Babe in the manger in Bethlehem - all was not calm and all was not bright before the angel choruses began to sing . . . and so it was with us this year. But, praise God, He is still providing for the broken to be made whole!
In His power and for His glory,