Friends, today is Friday, December 12, 2014 – thirteen days before Christmas. On Sunday, we will celebrate the third Sunday in Advent. Closer and closer, we are approaching our Christmas Eve Services: 4:00, 6:00, 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. The 4:00 p.m. service will be geared for our little ones in the Chapel. In all of the services, we will celebrate candlelight and communion. We will hear the Christmas Story from the Gospel of Luke, chapter two as well. Alex and I will share preaching duties that evening. We are introducing a Modern Christmas Eve Service at 8:00 p.m. The services will be great.
What I have found in the many Christmas Eve services I have done, participated in and attended before being a preacher or a District Superintendent, none are alike. There is a uniqueness that is exciting.
I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, with my home church being Iglesia Metodista Unida‐El Buen Pastor (translated: The Good Shepherd UMC). I remember going to the Christmas Eve services and seeing the adults and children dramatize the Nativity Story. Christmas carols were sung over and over. The candles were lit which occasionally burned a finger or dropped wax on the carpet. I always looked forward to the bag of fruit (an apple & orange), pecans and peanuts, and a hard candy or two in a paper bag.
Even in the writing of this epistle it brings back memories. My brothers and sister, should they be reading this, will be sharing the memories as well. Mom always gathered all the bags and combined its contents together in a large bowl on the table – which I thought was not fair. I wanted my own bag. Nevertheless, memories made on those evenings have withstood time and they are good ones.
This Christmas Eve, you are invited to make some new memories and hear the Christmas Story for the first time, again. Candles will be lit, carols sung, communion served, God’s message of hope proclaimed and the community of faith gathered. No bags of fruit given out this year, maybe next.
Send me a Christmas Eve story of yesteryear. A memory made, a treasured thought, or something that just made a difference in your life.
This Sunday, it is about “Alegria”… JOY. Bring a friend, family member or a colleague from work. Invite them to a blessing called the church.
Esperanza, Paz & Alegria,