I love everything about the Christmas season, the shopping, the baking, the parties and the family get togethers. It is such fun plotting and planning all the special gifts to give to our children and family members. I love getting them just what they always wanted or just the right gift that would show that I know just what they would like. But nothing in the season compares to Christmas Eve at our house. It is my favorite day of Christmas. The preparations are mostly finished, the guests have arrived, the anticipation is building and the festivities begin.
Once again we were at Old Salem at 10 am waiting in our same pew for the Moravian Children's Lovefeast to begin. For an hour we sat and watched the church fill up to overflowing, some of the faces familiar, most were not. I love the service for it's simplicity. The church is decorated simply with the traditional greens hanging from the ceiling, the paperwhites line the altar, perfuming the sanctuary with its fragrant smell. The service is simple, straight to the point. We sit, sing, eat together, re-commit and leave. This year the church seemed noisier, more babies and toddlers were present. A younger generation carrying on the tradition that they grew up with, sitting with aged parents.
No where else do I have the privilege and joy to sing the old familiar carols and every verse too! The children's choir is small and once again faintly heard. We wonder each year if they will be miked. But this is no performance, just a sharing of the sacred Christmas songs. Soon we are served buns and coffee. As we sit I think back to last year when I held a little baby in my arms, tiny Gabriella, who this year is walking and playing in Nashville. It is a pleasant memory and her absence, as well as her parents, brings tears to my eyes. But still our pew is full and my heart warms at the sight of my grown children, son-in-law and daughter's boyfriend. My husband may be graying, but he is still handsome in his suit and tie. I smile as I remember the days when he dressed like that, everyday, for work.
"Silent night, holy night"...my thoughts go back to Mary and Joseph as they searched for a place to have this baby. As we sing "Away in a manager"... I picture baby Jesus lying there, newly born, my Savior, Holy, and perfect, lying in straw, surrounded by animals and shepherds. Amazing night. I am so thankful. As we sing our last hymn, "Joy to the world" once more we lift our beeswax candles high as we sing the words, "joy to the world, the Savior reigns; let men their songs employ; while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains, repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy".
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the
Lord!”“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”