I walk into my dimly lit church with my family. It’s a brisk Christmas Eve and we are dressed in some of our more holiday-like church clothes. The auditorium is quiet. Everyone is talking no louder than a whisper. In the front, there are over forty candles lit. They are the only source of light in the entire church.
I sit down next to my family as the pastor makes his way to the front. The pianist follows him. As the pianist approaches the piano, the pastor begins to speak. “Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to come and spend a time of worshipping the Lord in songs. We would like to begin with ‘Away in a Manger’”. We all stand up and begin to sing. There is no need for hymnals. We all know this song by heart.
The piano is played softly as the sound of our voices fill the air. It sounds so quiet and peaceful. It is how I always pictured the night our Savior was born, peaceful, quiet, and full of music and people who loved Him. My voice cracks a bit as I try to reach a high note, but I know that when it makes it to my Father’s ear, it will be a peaceful sound.
We continue to sing Christmas hymns throughout the service. I sing a bit louder as we all sing ‘O Holy Night’, my favorite Christmas hymn. I again imagine that night, that holy night that Jesus was born. I picture the starry sky, glistening like diamonds. I think of the smell of the hay that lay in the manger. I think of the animals around them; the Shepards and Wisemen bowing before the King. How lucky were they to of met the Savior, even at an early age. I imagine what it would have been like to feel sweet baby Jesus’ hand wrapped around my finger. What a holy night it must have been.
We finish our songs and sit down again. Pastor then opens his Bible and begins to read from Luke chapter 2, the story of Jesus’ birth. “For unto you is born this day, in the city of
, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign unto you, ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” David
When then stood up and gathered together in a circle. We each were handed a candle. Pastor lit his candle and said, “This is the Light that came into this world on Christmas day. See how this one Light can give light to so many lives.” He then lit the candle of the person next to him with his candle. That person did the same and so on. When my candle was lit, I shared it with my younger brother. “We as Christians are to share the light with everyone we come in contact with, just like we are sharing this light with the people next to us.”
After every candle was lit, Pastor said a prayer. “Lord, we thank you for giving us Your Light on that Christmas day. We thank You for giving us Your Son to save us from our sins. We pray that You will help us to share Your Light with everyone we come in contact with, just like we did tonight. Amen.” We all then sang one last hymn, Silent Night.
Once the song was over, we blew out our candles. However, the candle in our hearts stilled burned bright for our Savior. This light could never be blown out.
Did you know that Haylie thinks 'bubbles' and 'door key' are funny words to say?!
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Photographs property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photographs taken by Abby Whear and Haylie Gregory.