This Christmas I went to two Christmas Eve services.
In two different cities.
In two different states.
Held by two different denominations.
On two different days!
I know…how could I attend two different Christmas Eve services on two different days?
The first service in Kansas City was held on Tuesday, December 23rd. I attended with my daughter and grandchildren.
They worship at the downtown campus of the Church of the Resurrection—a Leawood, Kansas Methodist Church. Held in a large former bar, the crowd filled every available space on two floors. So many people attend that they had to schedule Christmas Eve services on multiple days!
The service was led by the local campus pastor, staff, and musicians. It largely consisted of Scripture lessons and carols sung by the congregation. The sermon focused on the coming of the Light of Jesus into the world’s Darkness.
As one example of extending Christ’s light in today’s world, the pastor showed a clip from a recent CBS Sunday Morning program that told the story of a wealthy Kansas City Secret Santa who “deputized” the local sheriff’s department to assist him in distributing cash to unsuspecting recipients through random acts of kindness. Here was a true Christmas story! (To see this short, heart-warming clip, go to YouTube and search for Secret Santa Saves Christmas and CBS Sunday Morning.)
After church the four of us continued a family Christmas tradition by going to Starbucks and then driving around neighborhoods enjoying many houses decorated with Christmas lights.
It was great spending this time with Elizabeth, Katarina and Benjamin!
On Wednesday, December 24th—true Christmas Eve—I flew from Kansas City to Atlanta and then drove to Birmingham arriving in time to attend a service with Sheryl at her church—Vestavia Hills Baptist.
The service—filled with carols, Christmas meditations, communion, and music from the bell choir—included a homily by the pastor on how the Christmas season reminds us of the importance of using imagination. I recalled once again that the biblical story tells how utterly amazed the shepherds were when they received word of Jesus’ birth. The news they received that night was truly startling and life-changing. It could have only been received by people who imagined the possibility of a completely new future.
He reminded us of a verse of Scripture that Sheryl and I have cited many times along our journey. It states that God is “able to do far more than all we can ask for or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
Like the night before in Kansas City, after the service Sheryl and I had our own “light date.” She introduced me to one of her favorite yard decorations which depicts three shepherds viewing a lighted Star of David with a manger below. (See picture above.) We recalled her pastor’s meditation on Ephesians 3:20 and the shepherd’s response.
It was wonderful spending the evening with Sheryl!
My hope is that your Christmas was filled
with light that comes
from familiar stories,
the love of family and friends,
and the hope of a new year filled with imagined possibilities.