Join us December 24 for Rock the Manger in Community Hall
And Advent worship in the Sanctuary at 10:15
Intergenerational Family Worship in Community Hall at 4:30
Carols, Choir and Candlelight at 7 and 9 in the Sanctuary.
What Christmas carol opens your heart, brings you joy, and makes you weep with the memory of it? Each one carries a rich portion of story, ladled up like a delicious feast when the moment comes to sing it. “O Come All Ye Faithful” stirs me witless from whatever occupation I thought needed finishing. By the time those first strains emerge, the time of waiting is over and we’re dashing all the way to find our pew, late but present.
Whenever I hear “Away in the Manger” I’m standing perfectly still at the entrance to a small-town sanctuary, my five-year-old self decked out in patent leather shoes waiting to march my angel wings down the aisle towards Jesus. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” always makes me look up to see the star, and feel the chill that surely wrapped the Shepherds on that hillside keeping watch over their flocks by night.
When we raise our candles on the third verse of “Silent Night”, my eyes start leaking with awe and wonderment even after all these years, all these candles, and all these tears. “O Holy Night” invites me into a drama that each year belongs to every one of us though the principal players have all gone to glory two millennia ago. And finally, I cannot hear “Joy to the World” without picturing a certain Chicago midnight service, when snow blanketed the ground to silence while we worshipped, spilling us out into the lamp-lit street as the steeple bells chimed the birthing hour of Jesus.
Where were you when, and what did you sing? Who shared the pew, the room, the home where you Christmas feasted as wrappings and bows piled the corner by the door? I come from a long line of Christmas, from bubble lights at Gramma’s house, to the chimney my Dad put into our home when he built it, ensuring the safe arrival of St. Nick. Whatever the song, wherever we celebrated, the night grew dark, and the world settled and stilled to hear the Good News. “Unto us a child is born, a Son is given, and his name will be called Almighty God, Everlasting Father the Prince of Peace.”
Prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing. Almost Merry Christmas.
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida