Dear Friends,

You may have seen the new Chevy commercial that is bringing quite a few tears to the eyes of Americans.

It’s called “A Holiday to Remember” and begins with a family gathering. A man and his daughter are discussing the well-being of his wife, who has early-stage Alzheimer’s.

“There’s some days she doesn’t even recognize me,” he says, answering his daughter’s question about whether her mom has more bad days than good.

A young woman, presumably a granddaughter, overhears the conversation and decides to do something. “Let’s make today a good day,” she tells her grandmother – who sits with a vacant look – before gently leading her to a blue 1972 Chevrolet Suburban in the garage.

The granddaughter then takes her on a drive down memory lane. They go past her childhood home, the high school where the woman met her husband, to the drive through where the woman had her first kiss, and so on. The woman forlornly looks out the window for most of the commercial, but occasionally there is a spark where she exclaims, “Oh!” or says something to suggest what she is thinking about. The song “Sunshine on My Shoulders” by John Denver plays in the background.

The pair returns to the family home, where the longtime couple hold each other and kiss with tears streaming down their faces. For just a few moments, there is joy and peace.

Christmas is about the moments. A few meaningful moments can make all of the effort worthwhile.

For instance, the Sanctuary Choir, Children’s Choir, Golden Notes Choir, and other musicians have put in a wealth of hours to help us celebrate Christmas. They make the moments of worship possible.

Our downtown ministries put together bags of groceries, make coffee, grill burgers, organize items to distribute, and bring people together for meaningful conversations. What happens in these ministries can be the highlight of the week for someone who is hurting.

For many years, my Christmas observance has been defined not by a month of activities, but by moments. An unexpected gift from my father that brought tears to my eyes. A heartfelt hug from my son after giving him an unexpected gift. A hymn that speaks deeply to my heart. A quiet evening by the fire with Jen.

I’m writing all of this to say: don’t take the moments for granted. God comes quietly and unexpectedly into our holiday festivities. God may have something to show you or some way to grow you in the next few weeks. Or it may be that God simply wants you to remember something important when the light breaks into your darkness.

For just a moment, a thin place opens, a smile breaks on your face, and Christmas comes again.

I hope you’ll be present for one of our two Christmas Eve services at 11am and 5pm. It’s always a special time to gather as a family of faith and remember the way that God took on flesh for us. This is a moment you won’t want to miss.

Friends, I love you. I look forward to Christmas and the New Year with you. God is up to something good with the First Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Brent McDougal