Christmas Eve-Sunday, Dec 24th
worship at 10 am & 10 pm
"Ummmm, Pastor, did you know that our calendar is wrong?" YEP! I did.
In fact, it's intentional. And can I just take a minute to say how tickled I am that you noticed? In so many congregations I've met people who are completely oblivious to the liturgical calendar and just, really, simply do not care.
But the liturgical calendar is so helpful! It helps us to reflect on our days with new meaning. "Sunday" is what it says on the Gregorian Calendar, "Feast Day" is what we call it in the liturgical calendar. "Federal Holiday" is what it says on our civic calendar but "Holy Day" is what it says on our liturgical calendar. You thought it was just Wednesday? NOPE! It's Ash Wednesday - the day when you are reminded of your mortality, your connection to the earth, and the need that makes you human and draws God closer to you.
This year "Christmas" falls on "Sunday" and again, the calendars say something different. But more than that, the liturgical calendar clashes with the rhythm of the seasons that we've developed in our community. If we were going to stay on track we would have to wait a whole week longer than we usually do to decorate the church. And then we'd have to celebrate Advent 4 and Christmas Eve on the same day. We polled the congregation, took stock of the resources God has given us, and discerned our good stewardship and faithful evangelism - and we came up with a solution. We moved our liturgical calendar up 1 week. We're starting Advent early.
We're not the only ones doing this. In fact, a bunch of Lutherans are experimenting with reverting back to a 7 week Advent (something the Orthodox Church has been doing since we split in the 500's). Shoot, some Christians don't even recognize Advent. But we think it's important. The mystery of Christmas is important to us. And if we're going to enter that mystery it's going to take some preparation. So we'll be starting Advent on November 26th (and decorating the building on November 25th at 9am) and the Education Committee has been preparing for this since August! We'll be using the wisdom of Godly Play to enter into God's mystery with wonder.
Then, on Christmas Eve we will celebrate the pending birth of Christ at 10am, 2:30pm, and 10pm.
The 10am worship will follow our Godly Play wondering style and be great especially for kids.
The 2:30 worship will be in German and preceded by carol singing.
The 10pm will be our candlelight service - a little slower and a little quieter.
The liturgical calendar is meant to be a tool that helps us reform our own thinking and seeing so that we might see God's extraordinary work in our ordinary days. We might be modifying the calendar from the usual pattern to help us do that, but this is faithful work? Why would we try to be usual when God created us so unusual and marvelous?