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Christmas: Reporting In

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I certainly did. Today we had our extended family gathering at my mother's house, and for the first time in a long time, managed to get most of the crew - aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmothers - there at the same time. I think we had 25 people at my mom's house. It was crazy, and tiring, but fun. Everyone stayed late. I'm lucky to have my extended family all living in New York State, and I feel blessed that our family, for the most part, is pretty close.

I'm pleased to report that we had a fairly decent crowd in church on Sunday morning. Not record-breaking, but about what we get on a holiday weekend like Labor Day. It was actually a nice, relaxing, but spirit-filled worship experience, at least from my perspective.

On Christmas Eve, we had two worship services. At our early service, the highlight was the lighting of the Christ Candle. A young couple was doing the reading, and their two-year-old wandered up from the back of the sanctuary with his children's bag, sat on the chancel, and looked through it. Then, as they were lighting the candles, he stood up, and spent the rest of the time trying to blow the candles out. Hilarious. Needless to say, I don't think anyone caught much of the candle liturgy.

For the message/children's time, I read a book - Mary's First Christmas. I don't think this went over very well (except that the adults did like looking at the pictures - I had some young adults walk up and down the aisles with extra copies of the book so the adults could see), and I was really stressed out and disappointed by the end of the service about how badly I thought this went. But I had to remind myself that feeling so upset about it was probably a sign that I thought I was the most important part of the Christmas Eve service. So, I'm trying to get over it!

At the late service, my actor-brother Todd performed two monoguges, adapted from these two sources. The late service is always my favorite. More contemplative, the "silent night" that we sing about.

Do you have any exciting/meaninful Christmas experiences to report?


St. Casserole said…
Little Church had a full house on Sunday morning at 11 am. Lovely to see returning family members and other friends of the congregation. I read from Madeline L'Engle and T.S. Eliot along with readers who read the history of the mighty acts of God.
Wonderful day!
Greg Hazelrig said…
I have two small churches (avg attendance of 80 and 29). We had 112 and 30 so I was very excited about the attendance. I was also pleased at the joyous atmosphere. But my memory is that of the message. I read the birth story as my wife and I lit the Christ Candle for Advent, so during the message we shared the birth story in narration and song. This is the first time I've ever done this. I started narrating and would stop for Michelle to sing (acapello)a stanza of "Do you hear what I hear". We finished out the song and the narration and asked everyone to sing along with the words in their bulletins. It was great. Of course what was greatest about it was that Michelle stole the show and was praised heavily for it. Many told her that they didn't even know she could sing.
Anonymous said…

Did Santa Claus show up at your house or not?
we had a traditional service (for us) ending with the Eucharist. First time I can remember that. I preached on the fact that the birht of Jesus means little without the cross and the resurrection. I did this because we have some visitors who only come to church at Christmas. We sang both Christmas carols and some worship songs. The service was short, less than an hour including the communion.

thanks for asking :)

PS your family clan gathering sounded very Finnish.
Apostle John said…
We had 50 in the processional in the 7 PM service -- a record! The choir, youth choir, bell choir, and several acolytes. We added incense to the acolyte processional this year, using dry ice rather than the aromatic incense that might bother some folks with respiratory concerns.

We found that the dry ice doesn't quiet look the part :)

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