Season’s Greetings and welcome to Grace in the Heart of Penticton. You going to let me get away with that? Let me try that again…Merry Christmas! We at Grace are all about Jesus Christ…no matter what time of year it may be. But especially at Christmas. So if you haven’t done so yet and even if you have, turn to your neighbor on each side and wish them a Merry Christmas.
As I was planning this evening’s service I was feeling a bit nostalgic. You ever get that way? Remembering Christmas past? Maybe the ghost of Christmas past came visiting you in the middle of the night? I hope not for the same reasons that it visited old Scrooge. But regardless if you are human the likelihood is that you will take that trip down memory lane and stop at a few places long enough to tug on your heart strings or have a good laugh and maybe even smile a bit.
In tonight’s service along with the live performances of Christmas Present that we are blessed to have I’ve done some of my multimedia memory searches and found a few clips of Christmas Eve and Grace Past. In some of the clips you’ll be invited to sing along with those who lead a Christmas Eve portion in the past tens years or so. If the word’s appear on the screen sing heartily…if they don’t then take the trip down memory lane with me and see if you can guess why I might of included that particular clip.
By the way…I had more than 15 hours divided into 2-3 minute segments to go through. Needless to say there were far more clips than time would allow for this evening.
Our first clip takes us back to 2007 where Don and Walter opened the service with a duet of O Come O Come Emmanuel.
One year I was permitted to sing along with these two amazing singers. A Goerzen on the left another on my right… I had stereo Goerzens to sing with. What an amazing treat that was for me.
Walter & Don Goerzen – O Come O Come Emanual
Scripture – Mt. 1:18-25 (Mike Alcock)
I’ll never forget this next performance, Beth Young & my daughter Lorna wanted to be a part of the Christmas Eve service and sung their hearts out for Jesus! And they did so A-Capella. I think there were two fathers beaming in the audience that night. It is an amazing thing to watch your children step out in faith and grow in Jesus isn’t it Scott? What a blessing!
Beth Young & Lorna Mugwe – Christmas Eve. 2007
Scripture – Luke 1:57-80 (Harold Goerzen)
I ccouldn’t help but put this next clip in. It is so cute. It’s what we love about children at Christmas, their child like faith. Anna Young was very young but still very willing and excited to play a part in the Discoveryland Christmas Pageant in 2006. Here she is singing her own rendition of Away in a Manger. If you look hard you’ll see some other familiar faces around her. Children of Grace who are out impacting their world for Christ but also who grew in their faith and knowledge of him through the opportunities they were given right here.
Anna Young – Away in a Manger Christmas Eve. 2006
Christmas Eve. In 2003 was a musical extravaganza at Grace. The Dycks played piano and violin and the Gracemen accompanied by Irene Goerzen took center stage. They lead us in both traditional hymns and sang for us special arrangements like the next clip I have for you. This clip is actually two in one and I invite you to sing along with Go Tell it on the Mountain during the second clip.
Scripture Reader: Luke 2: 8-39 Pastor Peter Harris
Though Simeon was an old man by their standards and had seen a lot of messy things in his lifetime he still held out to the hope he had in meeting Christ. And God kept him in his waiting! His eyes saw the essence of his faith and his longing was fulfilled. God is good!
For some here this year brings the added pull of losing someone very dear to them. The first Christmas after is generally the hardest in that regard but each year thereafter the heart strings tug pretty dearly. In fact for some people the grief overwhelms them to the point that they are unable to celebrate Christmas because it’s so messy for them.
If you are having one of those blue messy Christmases this year you are in good company. And if celebrating is not possible at this time it’s ok to let the emotions flow here. We understand grief and loss and share a common hope for the future.
This next clip is from last year when Beth and Emily chose a song for Christmas Eve… it was somewhat prophetic in nature. It was a beautiful song that speaks to the reality that Christmas isn’t just the season of joy and gladness that we often make it out to be. It’s complicated and really messy at times. But even in the mess of Christmas, Christ is here.
This next clip is part one of my message for Christmas Eve 2014 entitled ‘One Messy Christmas’.
After part one I used a video clip in the service from the skitguys with permission. The link is below to it.
He Came To Get Messy – Skitguys
I would recommend viewing the above clip before continuing on to Part two of my Christmas Eve Message.
I have just one more stroll down memory lane to leave you with this Christmas even and then we will end as we traditionally do. This year we’ll ask Chad to come lead us in Silent Night and that will be followed by Gail praying for us and of course those wonderful goodie bags that Joanne loves to give out to the kids and those who still have a little child left in them.
Back in 2004 Susan Martens told us the story of how Silent Night came to be.