And God bless us, every one
The Christmas Eve service went very well. Had a nice crowd. Tired and distracted as I was, I sort of stumbled my way through it, but I don't think anyone else noticed. Had a nice quiet time at the altar to pray before the service, and I think if I just keep on doing what I'm supposed to be doing, the right feelings will come back. The tide goes out, the tide comes in. Let it roll.
Anyway, I don't attempt to preach on these special occasions. Instead, I load up on liturgy. You see, the problem with evangelical worship (traditional or contemporary) is that we keep trying to explain what we mean and what we're doing. There is never room for just enacting the ritual or declaring the Scripture or praying the prayers. My tendency is to get out of the way, even while presiding, and let God be the center of attention.
So: Scripture, prayers, music and hymns, candlelight, communion. Afterwards, greetings and hugs. And Christmas comes every time, even if you've not been feeling Christmassy. Here it is. And in the quiet of this night, I'm glad for everything. We'll get through the difficulties somehow.
I ended the service with that old poem quoted by King George VI (I think it was) in a radio address:
“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand
into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way.’”
May the Light of Christ shine in your heart forever. Amen.