Voices rose together in a beautiful harmony around me while I held a candle in my hands. The candles were flickering gently in their candelabra casting a warm glow on the stained-glass windows. Verses of Silent Night were running through my mind. It was a special, calming moment of worship.
Ever since I was a baby, I’ve attended the candlelit Christmas Eve service at my small home church in Washington, Illinois. I can count on one hand the amount of times that I’ve missed going (this year being one of those times). My Dad and Uncle are in charge of making sure the candles are all lit…and don’t burn down the church. My whole family goes.
As a kid, I understood that the Christmas Eve service was the thing we did before going home to eat pizza and open presents while watching It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story on TV. My parents always explained the importance of it all being about Jesus, but as an impatient kiddo, that was a hard thing for me to grasp.
However, the older I got, the more I understood. The less impatient I was. The more I was moved to worship during this time. As an adult, it sometimes brings me to tears. It is a beautiful—and needed—time of worshiping Christ because He is the reason that we celebrate this day every year. And in the busyness of the season, it can become easy to lose sight of that. I know I face that each year.
How are you feeling this Christmas season? Has your to-do list, the mountains of baking, the presents, the gift wrapping, and the demands of the season taken a great deal of your attention?
Please, take a minute right now to breathe. Breathe in the hope that Christ brings. Because of Him, we have hope. The gifts and wrapping, the baking, and the running around can wait. Don’t rush this moment. Reflect on His Goodness, Truth, and Faithfulness. As you read these verses, I hope they remind you of Christ’s love for us and the miracles of God.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:10-20)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
I pray that this Christmas we will look at things differently. I pray that we will be in awe of our Lord and Savior and that we will be excited to share this beautiful hope with those around us—not just at Christmastime, but year-round.
Join us at PCC this Christmas Eve as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.