Since I seem to be on a run with a church theme as we have entered the last few days of the countdown, I have one more memory from our church of the past two decades plus.
Before we expanded to the point that we seem to need multiple services on different days to accommodate the Christmas Eve attendees, there were two services.
One was around 5, I think and the other was 10:00.
I was a strong advocate for the 10:00 since as I have mentioned, I am a bit of a groupie of French culture and I remembered reading somewhere how they attend church at midnight and then return home to have sweets and such.
The whole thing sounded so charming; when I saw a 10 PM service, I was all in.
Many of our friends attended this service and mostly we sat in about the same spots over the years.
It was like we were getting together with our church family for one more celebration of the season.
Dotted all over were many friends with kiddos leaning on their shoulders, or scooted up close to college aged kids or adult children and the grands.
Everyone warmly squished together singing carols and at the end, we passed the flame down the rows from little white candle to little white candle.
A paper sleeve tried hard to protect our hands but did little as the wax slid down. But we didn’t care.
We sang Silent Night holding those candles and praying our kids didn’t set the pew on fire and then on the last chorus, all the candles were lifted up along with our voices.
And in the stillness of the church it really felt like all was calm and all was bright.
I can’t sing or hear the song Silent Night and not feel in my heart that somewhere near the end of it, I am lifting my candle high and through tears seeing the faces of people I love glowing in the light that is Christmas <3