This year is the 200th Anniversary of the carol “Silent Night” and the 150th of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and we will celebrate them both. The 5:30 PM Christmas Eve Service will include a traditional Lessons and Carols format plus the congregational candle lighting and singing of Silent Night in the pure candlelight. We will also begin the service with a time for children designed to help them be more fully and patiently present to Christmas Eve and Christmas, and all of life for that matter, and then there we will pause for another brief story telling time in the light of the Christ candle just before lighting the congregation’s candles.
There will be a special choir, Laila Reimanis on flute, solos by Esme Krauthamer and Becky Bailey, a duet reenacting the first performance of Silent Night in German by Steve Willbanks and David Webb with Erik Reimanis on guitar and the quintessential Christmas music of Handel and Bach performed by pianist Annemieke McLane.
The service should be right around an hour in length to get everyone home in time for Christmas Eve activities (and early to bed, of course!). We go for tradition at this service both for its beauty and for the power of hearing what generations have heard—the King James Version lessons and the old Pilgrim Hymnal carols—but we connect it solidly to our lives today. There will be too many favorite carols to list—so just come, all ye faithful, and you can hark the herald angels sing and sing your own joy to the world in this bleak (snow on snow on snow) midwinter!