Sunday, December 25, 2011
I just came from an 11 P.M. candlelight service at a Methodist church near our home. It's been several years since I've seen them put a sign out for the late candlelight service and I'm really grateful they did it again this year. I'm sure it's not easy to put on a service so late at night, especially since they do a 6 P.M. service as well.
I can't explain it - there is just something so right about sitting in church on Christmas Eve as the clock nears midnight and the world (or at least our part of it:) transitions from Christmas Eve to Christmas morn. I love it. The candles, the flowers, the music, the emphasis on God reaching down to man through the gift of His Son.
I was particularly grateful that I could kneel to receive communion. My knees don't cooperate with me as well as I would like right now:) and at first I wasn't going to participate because of that. But as I thought about it and prayed about it, I realized I could fold my sweater and kneel on that, using it as a cushion. when I saw a woman going forward with a cane, it was a no-brainer - I was going forward!
Kneeling is not a part of our tradition in the churches I've attended and it just seemed so important to do that tonight as the pastor broke the bread and then handed each of us a piece, along with his blessing. After we returned to our seats, we sang Silent Night as we lit our candles from the usher's main candle and then we filed out of the sanctuary.
I tried so hard to seal the images in my mind - the candles and flowers in each window. The cluster of tapered candles at the front of the church. The Poinsettias mingled in with the candles. The lighted wreath at the back of the church. The beautiful rendition of Oh, Holy Night. Even the small candles in white bags lining the sidewalk... It was all beautiful.
I wanted to hang onto all of it. But I couldn't.
However, some day I will!