Friday, December 14, 2012

A Christmas Story

It is the custom of most churches to gather on the evening of December 24, to tell the story of the birth of Jesus, to light candles, to sing carols, and to wish one another a happy holiday. This is the favorite worship service of the year for most people. It certainly was for me, when I was a child.  I liked it because all the parts of worship I enjoyed the most were present, and the things I didn't like about church mostly didn't happen.

At my church we had two services on Christmas Eve--an early service featuring a children's program, and a midnight service featuring candles and Holy Communion. At a fairly young age I came to prefer the second service, even though in my congregation children were not permitted to partake of the elements of wafers and wine.

I think I liked it because there was a lot of singing and not much talking, and a sense of mystery and wonder that our usual Sunday morning services lacked. The people seemed subdued and yet somehow also the air crackled with excitement. As a pastor I strive always to bring that feeling to worship services. 

What do you like about Christmas Eve?

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