Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019

Title:Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019

 Christmas Eve Service, Dec. 24, 2019 (full size gallery)

The bulletin is here. The videos from the service are here.

A beautiful day to have a service! Moderate temperatures in the low 50’s with abundant sunshine. The outside views of the church were spectacular/

We had 52 at the service. A surprise was that both Fred and Crystal Pannell were able to make it to the service. In fact Catherine paused the service to welcome Fred who had not been able to get to the service in several years.

This year there were fewer instrumentalists as in 2018. The choir presented Carol of the Bells and Venite Adoramus, Gesu Bambino. However, there was a new women’s ensemble from the choir and others (Nancy, Denise, Mary and Catherine) who call themselves “St Peter’s Soli Deo Gloria Women’s Ensemble”. They have been practicing the music of John Rutter and performed “What sweeter music” at the offertory.

There are many things that are the same – O Come All Ye Faithful, Angels we have heard on high and, of course, Silent Night with the first verse sung in the original German by Helmut Linne von Berg. Catherine presented the Christmas Eve Eucharistic Prayer and had a Children’s homily on the poinsettia before the sermon.

The sermon was about “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among people of goodwill.”

“That one statement of the angels—“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among people of goodwill”– is cross shaped—a cross shaped message shining through time.

“The first part of the message, “Glory to God in the highest” is the vertical part of the message.

“When we look to God, the Creator of Heaven and earth, the part of God that we know as almighty and transcendent, when we feel the awe and wonder of knowing God and being in relationship with God, we can’t help but give glory to God, because God has made a passageway that we think of as vertical, between heaven and earth.

“The horizontal part of the angels’ message is this—“and on earth, peace among people of goodwill.”

When we open our hearts to God’s love flowing into us, then we can’t help but open our arms to the world. God’s love for us transforms us into people of goodwill who want to spread the love that God has given to us out into the world. ”

We have a commentary on the Christmas Eve Scriptures for Year A here

The Christmas Eve scriptures span multiple centuries. They are about the prophecy of Jesus in Isaiah from 734BC and the Israel-Assyrian War, the birth of Jesus in Luke seven centuries later and the reality of Jesus at the time from Titus with the promise of the second coming. Jesus brings salvation – forgiveness and as well as transformation. This salvation will be fully realized when he comes again in glory as “our great God and Savior” (2:13). Until then, we live between two epiphanies, in hope and expectation.