Merry Christmas! Last night on Christmas Eve, the services were beautiful and touching and helped me to experience “Emmanuel” God-with us in a real way. Our 5:30 p.m. service at First United Methodist Church is a bilingual family service.
Technology can often be glitchy and it certainly was last night. At the last night, we thought we would be going old school, and went to get hymnals. By the time we returned with the hymnals the problems with the computer program was ironed out.
The service had the usual elements with singing, a children’s time and the reading of the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke. We had two people share what the birth of Christ meant for them. One was a girl, around 8, and she spoke of Jesus’ birthday and being able celebrate such a gift from God. The other was an older man, from Hondurous who speaks little English and his witness was translated to English from the Spanish.
What struck me the most, was when he said, “In my culture, Christmas is the time to reconcile with family and friends. If you have fought and disagreed, then this is the season to make amends.” I ponder how little that is done in the Anglo culture, at least in my experience. Yet the carols certainly speak of the restoration and reconciliation of God and human kind. Very little is spoken about the challenge of reconciling as people, brother to brother, sister to sister, friend to friend.
Our late service continued the use of Marcia McFee and the Worship Design Studios “Calm and Bright” series. Two hundred years ago the carol “Silent Night, Holy Night” debuted. How I and many have been blessed by that lovely song. We sang and broke bread, and lit candles and were once again reminded of the mystery and beauty of Emmanuel, God with us always. You can find the entire service as it was broadcast here.
Now, on this first day of Christmas I begin to celebrate and truly enjoy the gift of family and friends. Today is quiet, but tomorrow the house will be filled with friends and tomorrow night the first group of family will be here. I am so grateful to have the privilege of preaching the Good News of God with us, now and always. Merry Christmas!