Christmas Eve has been my favorite worship service of the year since I was small. My extended family would trek through the snow for the 11 PM service at the Norwegian church my grandmother attended, to welcome the newborn King and the hope and mercy He brought with Him.
Last Sunday, I went to Christmas Eve service with a broken heart. Someone had hurt me deeply; I was so anguished, I considered not attending the service. Then I prayed, and came to understand my only hope for a peaceful Christmas lay in presenting my pain to the Lord. I wept through much of the service. Then the lector read from Isaiah and the Pastor read from Luke. The words of light and hope soothed me. As we sang “Silent Night” by candlelight, I was renewed by the promise of new beginnings and eternal healing, and my heart began to mend.
As we left the service, a young girl in the aisle ahead of me told her mother that she wished they could go to Christmas Eve service every week. I agreed wholeheartedly with her sentiments as she pointed to the Chrismon tree and listed all her favorite carols. But then I realized that we do have the chance to go to Christmas Eve service every week. When we remember from Sunday to Sunday that the promise of Christmas lives in our hearts all year long, then we can worship with the same level of joy in every season.
On this New Year’s Eve, as we prepare ourselves for the successes and challenges of 2018, let us remember that this holiday season does not have to end. We can dedicate ourselves to keeping the spirit of Christmas alive through our words and deeds. Through outreach and reconciliation, through witness and support, through love and grace, we can be the servants of the newborn King every day.
May the new year bring us all closer to our Savior and to one another. May the light of Christmas shine on us and through us every day.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
2 Corinthians 4:6