Quite a few Elmhurst CRC Christmas traditions have grown near and dear to my heart, such as, hearing Luke 2 recited by the voices of children, singing the Hallelujah Chorus, and lighting candles at our Christmas Eve services. I also am aware that we started a number of newer experiences that I hope grow into long-lasting traditions. Here are a few:
#1) Battery operated candles. I confess that I curmudgeonly resisted moving away from classic candles, but there are several great reasons for switching to the flameless version: They’re safe! Even the youngest of kids can hold them! They can stay lit for minutes without dripping wax. AND you get to exit the Worship Center with them and take them home when the service is over. Can I get an Amen?!
#2) Worshipping with the men of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, for the eighth consecutive year. I was at Angola last Sunday for our joint worship service and had a phenomenal time in God’s presence with our brothers there. We will also have Elmhurst CRC members inside Angola on January 7th and 14th when we share the Gospel Messiah with prisons both in Louisiana and closer to home in Illinois as part of our church’s prison ministry.
#3) “Under God’s Tree:” This year on Christmas Eve I’m planning to unwrap a present from God to humanity. The greatest gift is certainly Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. It is also true that THROUGH Jesus Christ we have access to an abundance of God’s gifts both in the present and for eternity. I hope to start a tradition of unwrapping and treasuring these gifts year after year in our Christmas Eve services. This year’s gift: new clothes. If you want to read ahead, check out Colossians 3:12-14 to get the inside scoop.
#4) Behold the Lamb of God: This year makes the sixth time that ECRC’s The Broken Halos have presented the Christmas story through a beautiful musical written by Nashville artist Andrew Peterson. There are two opportunities to experience it this year: First, at Fitz’s Spare Keys in downtown Elmhurst at 7 p.m. on December 23. And second, in our 10 a.m. worship service on the morning of Christmas Eve. It’s so good!
#5) Christmas Vigil: For those who refuse to tire or need a break from midnight gift wrapping, there will be an 11:30 p.m. worship service concluding with a celebration of the Sacrament of Communion at the stroke of midnight. It’s simple, profound, and beautiful.
However and wherever you celebrate, I wish you a very Merry Christmas in Jesus’ name.
g2G and peace on earth,