For the first time in more than 10 years, Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year. That required making decisions, adjusting schedules, empowering volunteers, and praying for the best.
Here are some reflections from what we experienced together at Good Shepherd this year …
1. The Candlelight Moment is for sure the most beautiful moment of the Christian year. Even our 10 am service concluded with candlelight. A friend of mine took this photo from the 5 p.m. gathering.
2. Speaking of timing, the overwhelming response for the 10 am service at both campuses lets us know that, given the choice, many households prefer to do their “Christmas Eve Religion” earlier in the day rather than later. We’ll keep that in mind for future Christmas Eves that don’t fall on a Sunday.
3, At the 5 pm “Readers Theater” Christmas For Kids presentation, the character playing the “Christmas Cow” (you had to be there) reminded the narrator to “teach the kids it’s not a book, it’s a library.” I’m not sure if that was scripted or spontaneous but it was perfect.
4. I felt led to pray on odd prayer on Saturday. Because of the schedule change, Chris Thayer, our Zoar Campus pastor, preached “live” at both 10 am and 6:30 pm. While Chris usually preaches live once per series, on most Sundays, my Moss Road sermon is projected via hologram to Zoar. Anyway, while praying on Saturday for the Sunday services, I prayed that Chris’ sermon would surpass mine. What’s the point of trying to develop leaders if you don’t want mentee ultimately to have a greater level of effectiveness than mentor? I don’t know exactly how Chris’ sermon went, but I was glad to pray the prayer.
5. Speaking of staff speakers, Sammy Gonzalez delivered a BI-LINGUAL sermon at the 11:30 Spanish speaking service. Why? Because we had a few English speaking households who showed up at 11:30 for a service we weren’t having until 5 pm! So Sammy gave those folks a spontaneous and much-welcomed gift of simultaneous self-translation. Vaya con dios!
6. The Moss Road sermon (mine) had a few lines about “on the other side of lost faith is real faith.” Those seemed to resonate with large swaths of people.