This afternoon my husband and I went to a Christmas Eve service, our first one in Montana. About halfway through, a few young children who were sitting behind us started to get restless. They whispered loudly. They talked loudly. The kept bumping the back of my chair as they ran between parents. They rustled papers and fidgeted with the pew Bibles. And then at the end of the service, the mom said to her husband, “I think the kids did a great job during service!”
During the disruptions, I tried my best not to be distracted or irritated. And I couldn’t help but recall the chapter from India by Faith where I talked about the difference between Communion services. It also reminded me of the struggle I have of the person I am in India and at home. In India, this kind of disruption didn’t bother me as much. Why was it so different here? I did know one thing, I still had a lot of work to do on my attitude.
And so tonight I knit and prayed and then thought some more about church service disruptions. Perhaps the reason why it’s different here is the very reason why I attended church. In India I was there to serve the people. Here, I’m there to be served.
Attitude is everything, it colors how I see the people around me, those up on stage and even those who shake my hand at the door. And I do know that going to church to be served isn’t a good attitude. We are new and don’t know anyone really yet. But still, I don’t have to know the church or the people to change my attitude. Anywhere I go can be a place to serve whether it’s a job, a shopping trip or even church. Especially at church.
I wish I could wave my hand and suddenly have a serving attitude all the time. But unless God miraculously changes me, this will continue to be a struggle. I’ll succeed and I’ll fail and He’ll remind me again and again to check my attitude. Along the way He’ll helpfully provide situations for me to try this out on.
Such as today at the Christmas Eve service.
Because what better place to check your attitude than remembering why Jesus came to earth? If anyone had reason to be irritated by the people around Him, Jesus did. And yet, he came to serve, not to be served.
As we celebrate Christmas, may we all be open to the unique situations God puts in our path. Because they may very well be the things that make us more like Him.