As we gathered with several hundred other worshippers at our church for the Christmas Eve service, I was struck by the way in which this assembly reflected the nature of the church. Many present were long time members of this particular body, faithful saints who have faced life’s challenges and remained faithful. Some were relatively recent additions, while others were visiting family members, friends, and guests. Undoubtedly, some were not believers but they were present to hear the Good News of Messiah’s birth.
Various types of families were represented—nuclear and extended, single parent families, unmarried individuals, in-laws and a few ex-mates. All saw the value of being together for this time of common worship, even if it may have taken an extra effort and some emotional anxiety to be there.
And there were children present. A few had gone to the nursery, but for the most part even babies and preschoolers were in the service, adding a bit of disruption and chatter that brought a smile rather than a frown to most worshippers.
We sang Christmas hymns, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, and heard a message of encouragement and hope. When we said the Lord’s Prayer together, we were reminded again of what we hold in common with other believers.
At the close of the service, the light from the Christ candle in the Advent wreath was passed from person to person. We were celebrated the truth that the Light has come into the world and it has not been extinguished but continues to pass from generation to generation.
And thus, the church goes on—celebrating its Lord and doing His work.