Today, Wednesday, on the 17th of December, about one week before Christmas Day, I had the pleasure of visiting Rosalie Harrison. Rosalie is in a wonderful group home in Maryland and next month, she will celebrate her 98th birthday. I always like to tell her the story–because she cannot remember me or her church or her family and has not remembered in quite some time now–about how she came to Washington DC in 1953. I begin that story by telling her that I was only 17 days old when she arrived with Rev. Porter Harrison to pastor Fifth Baptist Church, what is now Riverside Baptist Church. I then tell her that I am now an old man and her pastor. She laughs at this story. We both do. Today, joined by our Chairperson of Deacons, Jacquelyn, we brought her a beautiful red poinsettia and Jacquelyn brought her a gift and card. Rosalie took great pleasure in these gifts. And as I like to do, we prompted her with some songs and she sang them: Silent Night, O Christmas Tree and Amazing Grace. She knew the words and sang in tune, just like the faithful choir member she was for those many, many years at Fifth Baptist and Riverside.
You have family stories to share as well during these luminous days of Christmas. Bring your lives into a holy place, in a holy hour on Sunday and worship. And may your memories stitch you together, hold you fast, keep you warm and give you great, great joy. Joy to the World indeed! I’m headed toward Bethlehem and hope you will join me in that journey. See you Sunday. ~ Pastor Bledsoe