25 December 2018


A pleasantly full church for Evening Prayer and the children's Christmas service... Pastor in his cope, seated amid singing angels (one of them Lydia!) and shepherds... Violins, viola, cello, tambourine, timpani, organ, saxophone, bells, choir... Young folks telling the story in the ancient words... Es ist ein Ros and Stille Nacht as the old walls smiled to hear the old language again ring out... Solemn Midnight Divine Service, the first Mass of Christmas Day... Trumpet and organ and strings: "Joy to the World!"..."When all was still and it was midnight"... Welcoming back the Gloria in Excelsis, absent since Advent began... Verbum caro factum est; Habitavit in nobis, alleluia, so softly and gently from the choir... Venite's call as the Alleluia Verse, summoning us to worship and bow down before the Lord, now in the manger... "In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus"... Olivia soloing the angel's message in "From Heaven Above" and the choir softly singing "Ah, dearest Jesus"... Pastor's homily God...born...of Mary...for you...to take away your sin...manger and cross...meets you here in His same body an blood...God's love for you... "Still, still, still" with strings and choir... The solemn consecration as Bethlehem touches down in Hamel and we join the angels to worship the newborn King and the shepherds to welcome Him... David's "O Holy Night"...Gerhardt's "All My Heart" as I knelt beside David and Cindi and received the miracle of divine love upon my tongue and into my heart... Candles and darkness... "Stille nacht" and the organ disappearing to let us almost whisper the words together in awe: "Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth..."

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