Monday, December 26, 2005

Obligation versus worship...or "What were they thinking?"

Church services were a bit weird this year. And I felt kinda lost. I know that's weird too, but I think a bit of worshipful celebration and quiet communion on Christmas Eve would have helped me feel more reflective and honoring of this great event and drawn me more into worship and thankfulness. Apparently you either got candles or communion this year. Not both. I guess it's always awkward when Christmas falls on a Sunday, but why do our leaders feel so locked into things that they can't move outside the box? Our church had Christmas Eve services at 6:00 on Christmas Eve. I realize inconvenient is not a word I should use when talking about God, but our church made it inconvenient. And then they took what could have been a meaningful, beautiful, reflective service and neutered it. Candles and carols. That's all. As one friend's son said, "mom, we coulda sung carols at home without getting dressed up and going to church...." Yeah. So my family - we chose not to go. And I usually really enjoy the Christmas eve service. We went Sunday morning instead - basically because our women's ensemble, which my daughter and I are in, had to sing. Mary Did You Know? Beautiful song. So in the bright "normal" light of a "regular" Sunday service we had a song or two and communion. Finished. Hardly worth leaving the warmth of home and family for...
Now, in my mind, one service - pick either day, tho I would prefer like around 8 or 9 on Christmas Eve - or later.... and do it all. Lovely carols, narratives, candles, communion - make it special, and meaningful, and spirit filled. I'm glad Sunday Christmases are done for another eight years. Maybe by then us churchgoing folk will be able to put aside our notions of having to have the doors of the church open because it's Sunday, and instead be able to celebrate the birth of Christ without getting all tangled up in worrying about how to make it all work so no one gets upset or offended. Maybe we can get things in proper order, with proper perspective. I don't know. A girl can dream......
...Or maybe I'll just go to midnight Mass at St Johns....

4 comments:

Mike Clawson said...

So I take it that you didn't end up going to Midnight Mass this year?

Christine said...

Sorry to hear that you're going on empty, with your church. I know that can be awful. But if you look for it, I think you'll find whatever God is trying to point out to you.

anne said...

Karen,
It sounds like you and I should both design a Christmas Eve service, as what you described sounded exactly what I would have chosen too. We had the time right - two candlelight gatherings on Christmas Eve at 6 and 8. But I had some disturbed feelings about the music we had that night - perhaps I'll blog about it. I hope your home was filled with Christmas joy.

Darla said...

well, we totally skipped out on the christmas eve service and christmas day service at my parents. it's the first time we haven't gone. it was a little strange... but we just couldn't go just to go... we've been every year, and it's the same EVERY year... i like what you said here, "hardly worth leaving the warmth of home and family for..." that's so how i felt. thank you for sharing.