My home church, Salem Baptist, use to host three Christmas Eve services every year. These were quite the experience, considering all the many worship elements included, such as soloists, jazz artists, interpretive movement, carolers, and the like.
The Hale family lovingly and jokingly called it "Salem Idol" since it displayed many talented and well-meaning acts. Our beloved Minister of Music sometimes didn’t have the heart to say no when asked if someone could play, sing, or act. I know this to be true personally, because for six years straight, he let me sing a solo in the services! I'm sure there is video evidence of my embarrassing attempt to carry a tune.
What I wouldn’t give this year to experience Salem Idol, I mean Salem’s Christmas Eve Service. In turn, what I wouldn’t give to experience many of the commonplace Christmas traditions that are on hold or inaccessible this year due to the pandemic.
I am quite fond of UBC’s Christmas Eve tradition. I love giving out candy canes to patrons as they arrive, meeting distant relatives that have come in for the holidays, the children gathering down front for a reading of the Christmas story, and the display of individual candles filling the Sanctuary in radiant light.
It’s a hard pill swallow, knowing that many of our people will not be able to join us in person for Christmas Eve. It’s okay to feel disappointed.
At the same time, we have the opportunity not to let the disappointment of the moment hinder us from experiencing an hour together on one of the most sacred days of the year.
We will be live-streaming the Christmas Eve Service at 5:00 pm on Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom. For those joining via Zoom, you’ll use the same Meeting ID information as the Sunday Worship. From the safety of your home, we invite you to prepare a candle for each member of your household as we continue the tradition of singing Silent Night.
We will have socially distanced seating arrangements, mask requirements, and exit strategies to keep all participants safe for those considering joining us in person. As you find your seat, we ask that you sit only with members of your immediate household. We also ask that you respect the personal boundaries of others by avoiding handshakes and hugs.
In the Spirit, while we are apart, we are together as we sing and worship the arrival of Immanuel. Come, let us seek the Christ child together.