Cindy had accepted somewhat awkwardly the invitation to the Advent service at St. Matthew's. Sandy had come in to the Grill for lunch with his wife Barb, and the subject had come up.

It all sounded very promising with the tasteful decorations, the right kind of Christmas music and the telling of part of the Old Story. Crystal, her three year old, would be impressed. Good to get to the values of the Season. She knew that there wouldn't be much in wrapping paper this year, Mom just having started the new job.

But Cindy had her reservations. Her parents were church folk, but they quarreled all of the time. Dad drank too much. Mom had had to take up a part-time job just to make ends meet. Neither had been in favour of her move to a new city. And Rick, the father of her child, had been in her singles group. He had split after the "bad news" of the pregnancy and was selling cars somewhere in Alberta.

Sandy had been such a refreshing customer in the restaurant. Barb had come along later. She was real and funny, and this had made her "mothering" tendencies acceptable. Cindy liked her, and felt that she could be trusted.

And now the service was underway, and Crystal obviously felt special in her one good dress. It appeared likely that she would be prepared to accompany the kids out to their class after the first twenty minutes. The candles, boughs and red bows had made her eyes twinkle. She was even able to join in with the chorus of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". That man Sandy was barely visible up at the organ.

Cindy's interest was taken by the teen-age girl who took the platform. She opened to the story of the angel's announcement of strange birth coming to young Mary. Cindy could imagine the public awkwardness, the questions from the parents, the incredulous look in Joseph. No relations, but still a baby coming.

Mary had believed and accepted the report. In her humble outburst of praise, she had stated "for he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden...he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name." Low estate. Cindy got that.

Barb, seated next to her, had whispered with eyes still straight forward "He can be born in us too." The young woman turned and faced her full on. Eyes connected with mutual respect.

The pretty young girl up front closed the book, and descended the steps to join her friends.


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