I was running late to the Christmas service, toting my 3 year old daughter. My husband was already there, having arrived early to play piano for worship. We snuck in the back, my daughter in my arms, peeking over the crowd to see the beautifully lit stage, and daddy leading worship with the band.

When an opportunity came to squeeze into the third row with our family, we were seated for what would be a special portion of the Christmas worship service. We watched as church nursery teachers began to lead rows of children onto the stage to dance and sing along with our worship team in a song written especially for their participation.

As the song played, children began to dance and bounce around singing the story of Christ’s birth. My daughter, elated, took off running toward the stage, up the steps and right amongst the worship leaders and all the singing children. Other children from the congregation did the same, streaming from every direction of the sanctuary right onto the center stage.

And this is what I noticed. No child on the stage turned to my daughter and said, “but you weren’t at rehearsal.” No one said, “spots have already been assigned and you were not included.” No child broke their dancing stride to reprimand my daughter for not being at rehearsal. What they did do was dance, and smile, and laugh, and sing together. And the more to join, the merrier they became.

More than I acquire greater self-disciplines, better stuff, or more experiences for my family this new year, I want to become as good at making room for others as those little worship leaders. I want to welcome the unpolished, the late-arrivals, those eager to belong, with open arms, a smile, and a continual invitation. I want to live as if Christ really has more than enough for all of his family. Because the more, indeed, the merrier.

Antonette Weatherly is a wife, mother and minister who lives in the Sherman area. You can find her weekly serving at Victory Life Church. She can be reached at antonetteweatherly@gmail.com.