25 December 2007
Luke's Christmas and John's Christmas
We had a guest last night who had attended our Christmas Eve Service and wondered whether we were doing the same service the next day. How does one explain the difference between Christmas Eve and the Christmas Day services? I call them St. Luke's Christmas and St. John's - due to the tenor of the Gospels prescribed for either day. The St. Luke's Christmas is the one that everyone loves the best, I suspect. The gathering together at the late hour to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, light our candles, and sing with the angels and adore with the shepherds. St. John's Christmas has a totally different atmosphere - gone the contemplative hymns of the night before, and over and over again the triumph of the Word Made Flesh trumpets forth. Christmas Midnight is the service of "O Little Town" and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" and "All My Heart This Night Rejoices" and "Silent Night." Christmas Day is the service of "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Of the Father's Love" and "Joy to the World" and "Now Sing We Now Rejoice." Christmas Eve is quiet contemplation and Christmas Day is overflowing jubilation. I think the Church is wise to include both (and also the halfway service at Christmas Dawn that is largely, sadly unobserved among us). Christmas celebrations need both Luke and John. I can't fathom choosing between them. I'm glad so many in our parish are there for both Divine Services.
Posted by William Weedon at 6:03 PM