Christmas Eve worship ended a little while ago for us at Krum First United Methodist Church.
The worship team had decided that it would be good to have a separate time of Holy Communion with the choir and tech people beforehand so they could lead with their voices and other necessary work during that time. Rarely do I get to face them when giving the words of consecration. Tonight as I did so, love flowed through the choir room. I find it great privilege to be in worship leadership with them.
They give so much, all volunteer hours, and to ask for their entire Christmas Eve seemed too much, so we decided to have just one service. We figured we could handle however many came. Many in the congregation were out of town, and we assumed it would balance out.
Fifteen minutes before the service began, nearly every seat was taken. Extra chairs were grabbed from the storage room and filled every possible corner.
Fortunately, I had remembered to switch the thermostats from heating to air conditioning. We soon needed it.
The service was simple, the theme “The Anointing,” the songs familiar. We didn’t even make hymnals available–all was intentionally well-known, and the words on the screen. The goal was comfort in that familiarity with the challenge to enter into actual worship of the God of all creation by those words and rhythms.
It was simply beautiful. Exquisite in tone and pace, solemn where important and touchingly joyful at the end as we lifted our candles and saw how much the room lit up when we did.
We’re just a small church in a small town. I laughed as I hugged my Baptist friends at the end of the service–their church in Krum was not having a service, so once a year, I get the privilege of having them in worship with us. I wept when I wrapped my arms around the family that had seen such loss just two weeks ago when one my church members found that her son and mother were killed in a car wreck. I rejoiced to see some people I have not seen in a while–there are good reasons why they are not in worship more often and it was a delight to greet them and catch up a bit.
It was one of those days when I think that this size church (around 400 children and adults) is as good as it gets. We can know each other, love each other, and not get lost in the crowd. There’s always room for more, but in growth, we stay personal and connected in worship and service, in giving and mission.
I am in a state of gratefulness that almost transcends words.
Thank you, God.