Last night my older brother was in town — the one who shoots the dorky home videos complete with his on-air style commentary — and he decided it was time to show us some classic Cork family Christmas footage. I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to enduring the combination of embarrassing imagery and motion sickness (my brother doesn’t have much of a steady hand when it comes to videography). However, in spite of bad hair and dated fashion I found myself enjoying the reliving of rich moments from the Christmas of 1994.

That particular Christmas Jacque and I were leading Christmas Eve worship at a young church we were a part of and all three of our children played key roles in the service. So last night we saw a 7 year old Aimee, minus her 2 front teeth reading a rather lengthy Christmas story, a 9 year old Ryan singing Silent Night (his first public solo) with a very high voice. We also enjoyed hearing Jessica play flute on Away in a Manger, which was a duet with me on trumpet. This was especially entertaining because of the looks Jessica shot me when I made mistakes — she still gives those same looks.

We also watched the entire Cork family in gift-opening action Christmas morning, and then around the dinner table that afternoon. As I watched our dad praying before Christmas dinner I was reminded of the open heart surgery he had undergone just weeks before and how thankful we were to have him with us then, and still today nearly 13 years later. I was reminded of how much our children have changed since then yet how similar they remain.

At that moldable time in their lives we poured as much of ourselves into them as possible. We exposed them to things we felt were important, involved them in a variety of experiences, including being in front of people as they were that Christmas Eve in ‘94. Why? Because our job was to prepare them for the future. Now that they’re old enough to make their own choices and involve themselves in the things they find most appropriate, all three of them continue to place ministry related service as a priority in their lives. It’s what they saw modeled as they were growing up so it just comes naturally to them.

I’m sorry if this trip down memory lane was boring, but my heart got pretty full last night as I reflected on family life, and I couldn’t help myself.