This Advent and Christmas season we have all thought and talked a lot about what we cannot do. We have focused so much of our attention and our energy on what is missing and on what stinks and on what hurts. We have focused like a laser on the yuck and the misery and on what we do not like.
I get it. I understand. I really and truly do. I share your disappointment with the cancelled worship services and the cancelled parties and the cancelled Christmas program. I wanted to sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve with my beloved church family. I longed to watch your familiar faces all aglow in the candlelight on Christmas Eve. Lutherans look really good in candlelight. You look just a bit angelic! I wanted to see Santa and Mrs. Claus at the ladies’ tea. I wanted the big tree in the sanctuary and the big celebrations!
I wanted what I cannot have this year. I wanted the noise and the fun and the joy and the celebrations. I wanted it ALL!
Of course – Christmas 2020 – isn’t what I wish it could be. Of course – I would rather we were all gathering together for in-person worship on Christmas Eve in the Saint Stephen sanctuary.
But – thanks to some very talented Lutherans – our on-line Christmas Eve worship service should be very meaningful too. You will hear and see quite a few of your beloved sisters and brothers in Christ who graciously volunteered to help Jack and me with the Christmas Eve worship service.
There will be Christmas carols galore! There will be very special – special music. You will be invited to hear the glorious Good News of the Christmas story. You will be invited to share in Holy Communion.
I encourage you as you prepare to celebrate Christmas Eve – to join us for worship. I encourage you to make Holy Communion a part of your worship on Christmas Eve too.
Most of you already have exactly what you need to celebrate Holy Communion in your homes. You have wine or grape juice and you have bread or crackers. Jesus used what he already had to celebrate Holy Communion at the Last Supper. Jesus literally picked up the bread and the wine that were on the supper table right in front of him and used those. He didn’t order anything special. Jesus used what was available to him. Jesus used what he had.
We can do the exact same thing! We can use what we have in our homes.
I invite you – to set up wine or grape juice and bread before you watch the Christmas Eve worship service. Then you can celebrate Holy Communion as a part of your home worship service. There will be a place in the liturgy just for this.
Light a few candles. Get dressed up. Celebrate Holy Communion. Make an effort to draw near to your Lord.
I know this Christmas will be different. I know on-line worship doesn’t feel the same as worshipping with your church family in the sanctuary – but remember God promises to be with us no matter where we are in this life. God promises us that nothing in this life can separate us from his love. God is with you today. God will be with you tomorrow. And God will most certainly be with you on Christmas Eve.
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –