Christmas Eve at Hope
Some things I will remember as I reflect on Christmas Eve services at Hope:
I read Scripture standing next to Suzetta Cannon at the 2:30 pm service. I think she outshined me! It is always good to hear different voices reading God’s Word.
Near the end of the Christmas play, Heidi Connors invited any child in the audience, anyone who wanted to come forward, to join the angels surrounding the stable. I would guess 40 plus children, ages 3 to 26, came forward. It is good to be near Jesus.
At the evening service, Pastor David recounted the memory of apples being handed out at his boyhood church on Christmas Eve. The ushers at his church handed out a sparkling red apple from large boxes to everyone. As a layer of apples would finish off, the ushers tore out a corrugated divider and, voila (do they speak French in Marshall), another row of apples jumped up. It is good when everyone receives a blessing at Christmas. “Good news of great joy which is for all people.”
Pastor KC then shared the childhood memory of attending Christmas evening worship at hergrandmother’s church with her family. Tradition. Extended family would be there as well. Wonderful lighting and warmth met them inside the building. It was good. A reminder of how good it is to be part of God’s family at Christmas.
I was also allowed to tell a story! I remembered the years of Christmas Eve, from the ages 10 to 15, enjoying oyster stew with my father. Nothing fancy. A can of oysters, a cup of milk, salt and pepper combined in a pan to heat; this following attendance at the church service. No one else in the family joined us. We alone liked oysters. It was good as a teenage boy to have this connection. It is not always easy for a dad and son. It was a good meal with a good man. It is good at Christmas to have things that unite us. It is good to remember how the Lord unites us. Centered in Christ.
Well, I’ve shared the blessings I remember from December 24, 2015–as a pastor who gets to go to all the services. We see a variety of people throughout the day and a variety of God’s goodness. As we move into 2016, I look forward to ministering with you, carrying forward this joy of Jesus. Centered in Christ. Sent in His love.
Happy New Year!
Pastor Bruce Hillyer, Associate Pastor for Caring Community
and Kingdom Partnerships