As we approach Christmas, I'd like to remind you of the articles I have written about all twelve days of Christmas. I have also written an article or two about holy – or holi – days, and other special days. I want to throw out a question for all of us to ponder: what makes special days special?
Leigh Taylor has the esteemed privilege of working closely with me! As our Pianist, she is stuck working with the music minister, whether or not the fog of a pandemic is thick around us. As we bump heads each week to plan and discuss music, we periodically have longer conversations about worship services more broadly. I have a minimalist view of "special services", and my preference is to down play patriotic days. Ms. Leigh represents many others in our church family that don't necessarily share my personal opinions on these third-tier and fourth-tier issues. I'd like to think we strike a nice balance of recognizing the people and things that deserve recognition, while not allowing the "tail to wag the dog" and distract us from the essence of our worship to the one true God.
I mention this because I have said before "what we do in the Sanctuary isn't what makes Mothers' Day special to me." Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, nor Memorial Day are made special by what we do on the nearest Sunday either, in my opinion. However, the way I view, and celebrate, the two high holi days of the year are directly affected by the way we celebrate them as a church family. Easter was a bitter-sweet one in 2020, because we didn't get to sing "Christ the Lord is risen today" together. Christmas will be bitter-sweet for me too.
I am secretly excited that many of the stressors I experience annually are off the table this time around. My Jeep will have music beyond the Choir's cantata for the first time in over a decade! My biggest concern might be that Christmas might not come if Doug Duggins doesn't get a Mr. Goodbar! Not only will I forego a Candle-light Service and Treat Night this year, I am also not looking forward to the prospect of a less-than-normal family gathering at Gramaw's house for breakfast on Christmas morning. I want to give myself some advice that you can also read: regardless of what does or doesn't happen in our Sanctuary, make Christmas special while safe at home.
I caught a member of our church red handed a few weeks ago. This is one of our many members that hasn't yet felt comfortable gathering in our Sanctuary. This dear saint was out dropping off cake for a [pre-CoViD-19] shut-in. I think I want to follow in this example; I intend to do a few small things for and with others to make Christmas special. I thoroughly enjoy creating new traditions, and I cannot afford to neglect Who we celebrate on Christmas. God loved us so much, that His only begotten Son became one of us, lived a sinless life, took our sin upon Himself, giving us eternal live in its place. He is what makes this holi day special. He is the one we gather to worship corporately. He is the one we worship privately. He is the one we honor when we celebrate this season in Spirit and Truth!
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Jesus Christ was born for this;
He has opened heaven’s door, and man is blessed forevermore!
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds