I wrote last week on whether or not Christmas Eve services as they have existed for my lifetime up to this point are “played out.” There are arguments that these services are generation-specific, that they are aimed at and appeal to only certain socio-economic groups, that they can even turn into “worshiping the event,” and so belong where they got their start – in the past.
I don’t think that’s true.
Good Christmas Eve services inspire, offer hope and tell the Story.
I don’t believe that this is generational – if anything, I sense younger people clinging to what few traditions still exist. They hunger for that story [and that inspiration and hope] – because it’s TRUE, and deep inside they know it – and so do we.
I don’t believe that this is socio-economic – even if people didn’t grow up with a stable, loving family or the resources to have a bountiful and joyous Christmas, they almost certainly wished that they did. Think about it – does it make more sense to drag everyone down into suffering in the name of equality, or does it make more sense to try to lift up those in need and give hope that things can be better?
I don’t believe that this is “worshiping the event,” rather than God – the retelling of the birth of Jesus is absolutely critical to understanding God’s great love for us. His sacrifice and resurrection [ie Easter] is the peak of the story of God’s love for us – but the Birth does more than just set the scene. The fact that God loved us so much that He sent His Son as a man – a downward step much, much greater than I think any of us realize – is essential to even beginning to comprehend the scope of God’s love for us.
So, this year, as with many years in the past, inspire – offer hope – and tell the Story!