What is your favorite part of Christmas? I love getting together with family. As a kid, my mom’s side of the family always held a big gathering at Christmas time. The Reynolds family Yankee swaps were epic! Of course I also enjoyed exchanging gifts around the tree. But even more than the unwrapping of gifts, I loved exploring my stocking early Christmas morning. I would pour it out on the floor, or on my bed, to discover the treasures within. But far and away, my favorite part of Christmas is the Christmas Eve candlelight worship.
There is a joy that is hard to put into words that comes from gathering with family, friends, guests and even strangers to celebrate the birth of Jesus through song and scripture. There is a sense of warmth, peace and hope that comes as we share the light of Christ from candle to candle, person to person, as we sing Silent Night. As the sanctuary goes from darkness to the warm glow of candlelight it is a beautiful metaphor for the transformation that comes from sharing and receiving Jesus.
I know I talk a lot about inviting guests, particularly at Christmas time. But when we have something as wonderful and life changing as the love of Jesus, how can we not share it? Jesus came to be a light in our world. Christmas is an opportunity to share that light with others, who in turn can pass it on. I think what I find so powerful and moving about the Christmas candle lighting is that it all begins with a single candle. When we share Jesus, we not only impact the life of that person, but the lives of every person they touch. There is a ripple effect that we will never know the full impact of in this lifetime.
I look forward to having us all together this Christmas Eve as we receive and share the light of Christ. We will have our full regular morning schedule, followed by candlelight services at 4:00 PM in Sandown and Amesbury, and at 4:00 and 6:00 PM in Plaistow.