We Attended Four Christmas Eve Services
It was Christmas Eve, December 24, 2013, Main Street, Hopkinsville, Kentucky. At 2:30 pm. we walked from the Church down the street about a block and a half to the Coffee House. Several people, old and young, had gathered as they might on any day of the week. Assistant Pastor Keith was there to bring a message and serve Communion. Michael, worship leader from the New Spirits, contemporary service of the UMC, up the street on Main played guitar acompenyed by a man on the keyboard. There were probably thirty-five people present. Pastor's wife and two sons came. Jeremy, Sebastian and I were there. Keith gave a very good message and with a helper served communion. Beautiful art work hung on the walls and foods were availabe in the back room. The three of us took the brisk, cold walk up the block and a half to the United Methodist Church.
Back in the Church we followed Jeremy to help where needed in preparation for the 5:00 pm. service. After some small changes of chairs and music stands in the choir, we went down to the choir's practice room. Choir members began to come in for their brief rehearsal. About half the number of a Sunday morning, 11:00 am. service were needed. Even without the organ, the music was beautiful, as always. Pastor Paige invited children to come forward to sit near her on the steps of the platform for a story from her "Christmas Stocking" the Love, Joy, Peace and Hope of the Christmas candles, then she gave a pertenant message. The alms boxes had been put out for financial donations to the Church's food pantry. As the folks came forward for Communion, they could place their offerings. Pastor Keith had asked me to be his helper. I held the bread and he the grape juice. There were six stations for that meeting. Five-hundred were in attendance.
A simple buffet supper had been prepared for Church workers and helpers waiting for the 8:00 pm. service to began. The New Spirits Church service is set up always in the gym. On Sunday mornings they have an attendance of about 150 people. Michael led the singing with his guitar and a lady played the piano. For the Christmas Eve Communion Service there were eighty-seven folks. Again Pastor Paige opened her Christmas Stocking for the children, then she preached.
The three Christmas Communion Services in the Church that evening were each about an hour in length. At the 11:00 pm. meeting one-hundred-fifty gathered. Music was provided by three men on guitars and Carlene's violin. Pastor Paige told her Stocking story and Pastor Keith gave his sermon. In each service after Communion, the congregation circled the pews with unlit candles. The Pastors lit their candles from the Christmas Candle, then lit one on each side and the back of the sanctuary. Those lit to left and right, so the light rapidly filled all the room. During the lighting we all sang "Silent Night" to the gorgeous sounds of the violin.
It was a wonderful day and night. Sebastian (age nine) had asked to go with Jeremy and me to all four of the services. Not once did he complain about anything, for any reason. Joanna and Carlene came with Elizza and Leo to the last service. We were all back to Jeremy's soon after the last meeting was over. He and I sat at the dining table talking until near 2:00 am. When I could hardly keep my eyes open, we knew it was time hit the hay.
The meaning of it all was well worth the time and energy expended. To celebrate the coming of God in human form, as Jesus Christ, for the sole purpose of pouring out His blood, forgiving mankind of our sin and leading us as wandering sheep by the Holy Spirit to a holy life with God is joy unthinkable and full of glory. God bless you one and all.