12 Dec Looking for a more meaningful peace this Christmas? Joining us for Christmas Eve might help you find it.
Have you ever noticed how our favorite holiday songs are filled with images of peace?
Silent nights. Fields of glistening snow. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, lights turned way down low, stars brightly shining – song after song, we’re met with poetry that invites us to step out of the hustle and bustle of the world around us and just… breathe.
These songs strike a chord because the moments of peace they picture feel like a precious commodity these days. Some days – some years – they feel rare and fleeting. So we try hard to find them during the holidays in deep breaths on snowy walks and cozy moments by the fire.
But if you’re willing to take a chance this Christmas Eve, there might be an even greater peace to be found. The sort of peace we are met with when we choose to come together.
The kind you just might find at our Christmas Eve Service.
In his book Between the Listening and the Telling, Mark Yaconelli writes: “There are certain ‘pure medicines’ that every wisdom tradition makes available to the lost and disheartened. Silence. Song. Story. These are the ancient remedies to nourish the withered soul. These are the sacred pathways that bring us health, a sense of peace, a sense of home. These are the storehouses that hold the treasured values of a culture and remind us that we belong to one another.”
When we’re in the middle of holiday wrapping and baking, or when we’re tired, or already settled in for the evening, getting up and going out on Christmas Eve can feel like work. But if we can just get ourselves into the car, into the building, into our seats, what we find there is “rest for our weary souls” like Jeremiah talks about. When stress is our burden, silence, song, and story are the remedy. And people have been coming together to practice them for thousands of years, in synagogues and around fire circles, in chapels or town squares, and yes, in cozy church buildings on Christmas Eve. They are our shortest path back to belonging. They are our sacred rhythm of finding peace.
You’ll find a lot of the things you might expect at our Christmas Eve Service. We’ll sing familiar songs – the ones you may know all the words to. We’ll light candles and tell stories. There will be new folks to meet, kids of all ages, and friends you haven’t seen in awhile. But what you might find that you aren’t expecting is some of that pure medicine that Yaconelli writes about. The magical – maybe miraculous – sense of health and home that being together in worship brings us. If this year is anything like the ones before it, we’ll all leave with a few goosebumps, a little more hope, and a renewed sense of peace.
Maybe the miracle is really just a simple truth: when we choose to show up for peace, peace shows up for us.
Though we love each and every one of our traditions, what happens on Christmas Eve isn’t simply about what we do. It’s about being together. It’s about presence. It’s about being in the moment, celebrating “God with us.” It’s the sort of peace that transcends even our best poetry about quiet snowy fields and the jingle of sleigh bells. It’s the peace of God that reaches deep into our souls, reminding us we are beloved. Reminding us that we belong.
Folks have said that our Christmas Eve services inspire that “I’m so glad I went” feeling. We’re an Open House, and we’re inviting you to join us – just as you are. Even if that means you show up without your missing mitten, or with a layer of family-in-town stress, or with your scariest spiritual doubts. It all belongs here. Come with all of it and join us for an hour or so of presence and peace. It might take some willpower to leave the warmth of your home for church. But we think you’ll be glad you did.
If you can’t join us in person, that’s okay! We’ve all learned over the last few years that we can be together in all kinds of different ways. It matters deeply to us that you can still be present with us even if you can’t be in the room – that’s why, just like our Sunday Morning Worship, our Christmas Eve Service will be live streaming on our YouTube channel.
Whether you’ll be with us in person, or online, we look forward to seeing you. Because Christmas Eve is better shared. Together in celebration, in silence, in song, and in story. But most importantly, just together – surrounded by love and the peace of “God with us” in Christ.