We had a nice Christmas Eve. I headed over to the church around 5:40 or so to pour the grape juice in the little communion cups and get everything ready. I prepared 77 cups - not knowing if there would be 10 or 100 people show up, because it was a little icy and windy - but we ended up using 63. Jane came over shortly after me and cut up the Hawaiian bread and put it in Carrie's baskets from the wedding reception. Then we ran through the songs real quick. Good thing, because, while I always 'think' I know the old Christmas carols, when you get into some of the latter stanzas there are some phrasings that can be a little tricky. Drew showed up just as we were getting done so he and Jane could go through the special they were doing ("O Holy Night" - done very nicely, I might add). I started lighting all the many candles throughout the sanctuary and entryway, then waited for people to arrive.
It was about 6:40 before the first people came (the couple across the street). I think the next ones arrived about 6:50, and everybody else showed up in the next 10 minutes. We began about 7:03, and I was totally surprised that basically everyone sat up front - filling the front section, and just a few of the front pews in the back.
The service consisted of me welcoming everyone; we sang three hymns ("O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," "God, Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and "O Little Town of Bethlehem"); Scott read the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20; we sang "Away In A Manger"; then I read the story "Why Jesus?" (Or "The Man and the Birds" - I don't know if it's from Paul Harvey, or where); then we took communion. Drew sang "O Holy Night" while the bread and cups were passed out. We had people take the bread and eat it on their own, then hold the cup so we could all drink together. When it was time for the juice I had something really profound I was planning to say, but when the time came, I drew a blank. So we just drank it. After communion we all gathered in a circle in the sanctuary, turned out the lights, lit our little candles, and sang "Silent Night." It was actually kind of neat even though we do the same thing every year. Then we said, "Merry Christmas" and it was over. People hung around in the hallway for a bit, we blew out candles and shut off heaters, and were out of there within a half hour probably. I think the service maybe took about 45 minutes. I like this service.
Afterward we had our family Christmas at our house. Lady the dog stayed at our house while we were at the church. She was happy to see us all. First we ate supper: pulled pork sandwiches, cheesy potatoes, carrots, and chicken dip with crackers. Jane also made her mothers eggnog (and it was fantastico).
After eating, and a potty break for Lady, we opened presents. I got a flannel shirt from Jane, a pocket knife from Isaac, and Drew Carrie got me season 1 of 'Sons of Anarchy.' I got Jane some chocolates and her annual Ansel Adams calendar. We got each of the kids a small fire/waterproof safe, and a mini-swiss pocketknife. We also got Isaac a Kerouac book, and his stocking had white t-shirts, beef jerky, and money. We got Carrie season 4 of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' on dvd, some gloves, lotions and money. Drew got a shirt, heavy socks, a big bag of pistachios and money. All in all it was a pretty good haul.
We lounged for a bit, then Drew, Carrie and Lady left, and the rest of us fell asleep during different parts of 'A Christmas Story' on tv.
I finally got out of bed at 7 this morning, and so far am the only one up. It is 40 degrees f outside and raining. The white Christmas is melting away fast. No real plans for the rest of the day.
Peace out, folks; and in.