Christmas services, 2011 – Variety prevails

Title:Christmas services, 2011 – Variety prevails

Christmas Eve 2011 weather

We had 61 on Christmas Eve and 33 on Christmas Day. The weather was as joyous as the season – in the forties under bright sun shine. A combined photogallery of both services is here.  The readings were here and the bulletin for 12/24 and 12/25

Christmas came in varied ways at St. Peter’s. Variety was very true as talents and opportunities were shared. We featured a number of musicians – Marilyn on the harp, Mary Lawrence on the trumpet, Helmut on the violin. The Choir performed a number of traditional pieces, more than in the past. These included "People Look East", "Besancon Carol Medley", "Angels from the Realms of Glory", "O Holy Night" and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks."

Luiz and Catherine

There was clearly an international favor on Christmas Eve. The Luke 2 traditional Christmas story was said in both Spanish by Luis, the visiting seminarian from the Dominican Republic (thanks to Cookie and Johnny) as well as English. Catherine did a dramatic reading on Christmas Eve of the same verse from memory. Helmut sang the first verse of Silent Night in German.

Christmas Eve candlelight 2011

The Church was bathed in light in both services. Christmas Eve had the candles lit on the altar, along the windows and pews and finally outside with the luminaries along the sidewalk. Christmas day featured natural sunlight producing a different effect.

The main points of the two Christmas sermons were the following :

1. Christmas has come to us right where we are. It was illustrated through the Christmas Truce along the military lines in 1914. The angels bring us good tidings of great joy. The shepherds of so long ago remind us to go with haste, and to see these things that continue to come to pass. The shepherds are a witness to us–To take the good news of Christmas back to wherever we live and move and have our being, no matter where we are–To glorify and to praise God for all we have heard and seen,To be filled with God’s light and joy as we grow into the good shepherds that God calls us to be.

2. Christmas invites us to be a part of God’s dream for a new heaven and a new earth, here and now, in this time and in this place.

3. One of the great promises of the prophets is the return of peace to the earth, a richer peace than the innocent one that lay over the Garden of Eden at the beginning of creation. The peace that the prophets promise is a peace that will come to the earth when justice and mercy kiss each other, and when people live in right relationship with God and with one another—having goodwill toward one another. On this Christmas Day, 2011, when peace is in short supply and hopelessness and depression march through our lives like soldiers of an enemy force, claim this gift. Accept the Prince of Peace as your Lord and Savior. And live as if he really is in authority over your life, by having goodwill for one another.

4. The sermon quoted Longfellow’s tragedies and his later composition "We heard the Bells on Christmas Day. "God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.: Hear the the bells on this Christmas Day. Listen for the angels. They sing that same song they sang at the beginning of God’s life as one of us.  You can find the Christmas Eve sermon here and Christmas day here

Genevieve, our oldest parishioner, at 89 joined us on Christmas Day. Thanks to all who participated and helped with the service.

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