The chilly drive on the Indianapolis interstate dumped us out in inner city Indy, where my Dad found a parking spot amid spaces covered by hard packed snow outside a storefront coffee house usually frequented by the homeless and those just seeking a touch from God.
Already dark outside, the trunk of the car was almost a welcome sight, as Mama unloaded her guitar, Dad grabbed his bass, and together, they made a second trip for the amplifier and microphone.
Mama was in the house.
The Watch Night service, as it was called in those days, started around 7 o’clock, with supper around 8.
As congregants waited for the midnight hour, to pray in the New Year, one person or group after another would bring special music, share testimony, or pray.
Dressed in my blue corduroy jumper dress and tights with a striped turtleneck, I wrapped my winter coat a little tighter because it seemed to be colder at times.
Then it was our turn to sing.
Shedding the long coat, I followed my parents to the front of the room, surrounded by maybe thirty people, seated on barrels and metal folding chairs, drinking coffee and leaning on wagon wheel tables.
This was my first time singing with Mama and Daddy, and I was so nervous.
“Throw Out the Lifeline,” was the song we sang. My voice was sometimes strong, yet I struggled.
Applause and cheers loudly followed and I found my eight-year-old self questioning whether my “performance” warranted that.
Hours stretched on, with songs and hymns, and bursts of encouragement, and soon the midnight hour was upon us, where we prayed in the New Year, asking God for His blessing.
Jesus met us in the worn down coffeehouse, a Haven for the searching, comfort for the weary, light and warmth for the distressed.
I often wonder what Jesus would look like if He came to us now? Would He have long hair and ride a skateboard? “Hit me up on Facebook,” He might say. “Send me a text, day or night, I mean it. I am here for you.”
I like to think that He would be as relevant and approachable to us now as He was then, even though “our God dwells in inexplicable light.”
A lifetime has passed since that night.
I went on to join an adult church choir at nine years old and continued singing in some form or fashion even to my life now.
The performance has changed to worship and seeking that familiar Presence, Who moved with grace among the group who sought, some with tears in their eyes, their Savior.
I am so grateful for His love. He sees past all my shortcomings. He holds me when I can’t see my way. He gives me a hand through difficult days. He scatters His glory across the sky to show me there is hope, yes, in this life and beyond.
Lord, You are our hope, and we love You so much.