Saturday, December 24, 2016

Our Christmas Eve Service

Every year I ask for people to volunteer to participate in the Christmas Eve Service.
Each year the people come through.
I love how each year's program is somewhat different while
the structure remains the same.

Meaning we always read the same scriptures but may do that 
in a different manner.  Sometimes one person reads a long passage
or several people break it up into sections.
This year I thought it would be neat if we read it responsively.
This would allow for all of the congregation to remain
engaged in the Christmas story.
Loved it!

Another thing that always happens is the lighting of the final
Advent candle.
This year one of our elders and his wife did that for us.
Jon and Sue are such caring and sweet people.
We have known them for sixteen years now.
It is hard to believe how time flies.

As our children grow and some go off to college the ones who used to 
be too young to participate in a big way have become the ones to 
participate all through the service.
From solos, to violin duets, to vocal duets they really came 
through for us!

Our writer friends, Kelly and Pastor Jack both shared
words with us to draw us to the true reason for the season.

A young man composed music that was then played by others for one piece
while he recorded another piece and created a video display to go with it.
Unique for us but so special as this friend struggles with extreme pain
in his hands and is unable to play live.  He has a computer program that
allows him to make the music come to life.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the effort that went into the presentation
of both of his compositions.
Both by him and by the two musicians who learned and shared them with us.

Some time ago I had asked my friend, Susanna, if any of her younger children
would want to serve as greeters on this evening.
She was sure that at least two of them would want to.
And she was right about at least Josie.
While Susanna had forgotten temporarily about this possibility
Josie had not.
She took her place at the door and greeted folks as they came in
with her million dollar smile!
Oh yes, you may not know that Josie is recovering from major surgery
on her legs and ankles.
And yet....she wanted to serve.

I could go on and on.

Everyone has a friend, Deanna, who has not sung in public in
more than 25 years.  And yet, she and her daughter Sarah worked so hard and learned
Mary Did you Know?
They sang it soooo well.
Our Tuesday morning music lessons paid off.
Sadly, I boggled the accompaniment on that one.
But they were so gracious.
Next time we won't settle for changing an accompaniment we all dislike.
We will find one we love.

Sarah did a super job on Noel.
What can I say?
I'm so stinkin' proud of this girl and how far she has come
with her voice lessons.
She is in her happy place when she sings special music.

It is a time for mixing things up....
and yet keeping the familiar.
We decorated for this evening....since we aren't having services 
tomorrow I wanted it to be really special.
Deanna, some of her family, Karen A, and I met Thursday evening
and worked at creating simple beauty.
I had brought loads of stuff from home hoping that somehow
some of it would come together in a cohesive way.
Deanna is so good at that.

And so we used some of hers and some of mine
and came up with these pretty scenes.

The manger scene below has been put out at our church
for many, many years.
It was donated a long time ago.
I love to watch our young ones stop and look or 
touch the pieces as they absorb the story.

The candles were leftover from Chelsea's wedding in May.

Not the best photo of the garland but you can see that we added 
burlap, also leftover from the wedding, red berries and lights to plain greens.
We then hung snowflakes with fishing line for a bit of a floating effect.

I really enjoyed seeing this all come together.
Thankfully I had explained the look I wanted because Deanna was able 
to help it come to reality when I became overwhelmed because I had brought
so many things.

We missed our Pastor and his wife who will soon return from being with her family
as her father passed away recently.

"Our" college kids are back in town for Christmas so it was great to see them.

Light refreshments followed the service and no one seemed in a hurry to leave.
I finally asked someone who is often there until the end if they minded closing up.
They didn't mind.
So, we headed to mom's where we were going to open stockings tonight but 
with so many of our family missing (and as Chelsea and I were super tired) 
we decided to skip that particular 
tradition and just visited instead.

Hoping something about this post made sense.
My brain is done.
It was a super long day....but a good one.

I hope your family has a blessed Christmas.


maureen angelino said...

Loved this long, descriptive post! I almost felt like I was there! I'd love to hear that music. Did anyone happen to make a recording? Sounds like a wonderful time of worship and sweet fellowship! Merry Christmas, my friend! :)

Deanna Rabe said...

You made this service happen. You kept all the 'balls' in the air!

It was so fun to sing again, and to enjoy everyones effort to put meaning into the service. I'm so proud of Sarah, Rachel, Lindsay, Joseph, Daniel, Laura, Nigel and YOU!

Well done, friend!

Deanna Rabe said...

Oh and Kelly and Jack, too!

Theresa said...

Beautiful service to make Christmas special! I just listened to Deanna singing, sounded perfect to me! Enjoy your day dear friend, BIG HUGS!

Charm and Grace said...

As a pastor's wife it makes my heart smile to see how you serve in your local congregation with joy and generosity. Merry Christmas and blessed New Year!