Day by Day with Pastor Jen

December 13, 2016

Why Quiet Holy Communion on Christmas Eve?

 

These words are read around the world on Christmas Eve, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14a). The Word is God who spoke the universe (with its seas and mountains and skies and uniquely interdependent forms of life) into being. This creative Word of light and life became flesh in the birth of Jesus Christ. So God at Christmas came to dwell among us, uniting the divinity of God to us regular folks. For Christ “Is in Father God” (John 14:20) and when he slipped into our skin, he united God himself to us in skin. What an amazing act of love, right?

 

But God in Jesus Christ didn’t stop there! Before he was arrested and sentenced to die, the very last thing he did was share a meal. The last chapter of any book is usually the essential capstone, as is the last act of Jesus’ ministry on earth. During that meal he ordained for us a holy sacrament. We call it Holy Communion or the Eucharist. He ordained that every time we eat the bread and drink the cup together in his name as body and blood, saying, “I live in him/her who eats of it and so she/he lives in me.” In other words, when we take communion we are united to Christ’s grace; we are united to the divinity of God.

 

Our Catholic brothers and sisters believe that the bread and cup as Eucharist become the real presence (real flesh and blood) of Christ. Our Congregational brothers and sisters, like the Baptists, believe communion is a remembrance of Christ’s love. We Methodists believe something different. We believe that because Jesus Christ gave us this gift… because Christ says he will do something in this meal…, we believe that Jesus Christ works through this meal. The bread and cup are the means by which Jesus Christ offers us his very real grace. Through communion, God’s grace comes to dwell in us and us in him.

 

For hundreds of years people celebrated Holy Communion on Christmas Eve in the quiet. Methodists would come a bit early to quietly celebrate communion with their families. BECAUSE, Holy Communion is the experience of God coming to dwell among us and us in Him once again. It is the gift Christ gave us to experience the reality of Christmas over and over again. It is the gift Christ gave us to nourish us in his grace over and over again.

 

So amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day you are INVITED to bring your families into the quiet to receive the gift and grace of Christmas through Holy Communion. Christ himself gave us this gift and this grace. So place the hustle on pause for just a bit of time. Come at 7:45pm for a prayer with the LIVE holy family. Then from 8-8:25pm, come enjoy Holy Communion.  Through communion, Christ dwells in us and us in him. Perhaps there is no better way to experience the real beauty of what God has done, and is doing, for us at Christmas. (Yes you can go save your seats for the 9pm. worship service prior. :) )

 

Community this Week:

We’ve been discussing five spiritual practices that come with following Jesus Christ. We seek to grow in those practices throughout our lives and relationship with Christ. One of those practices is GIVING. So many of you have taken your next step with Jesus in this practice. Our minimum pledge goal was $580,000. This would have seen us through the bare essentials of Christ’s ministry this year. We are currently pledged at $608,200. While we still have a bit to go to further Christ’s ministry, I hope you too are celebrating the work of God in people’s lives. I hope you too are celebrating the faithfulness of this community. I hope you too are in prayer for how Christ will work through us to reach our community this year!

 

Invitations:

You are invited to the spiritual practice of SHARING the hope and joy of Christ by taking one of the paper invitations from your bulletin or the Welcome Center to share with a neighbor, co-worker, family member, etc.

 

This Sunday, December 18, you are invited to share in a special Christmas worship experience as the Old Bethel Chancel Choir presents the annual Christmas cantata at ONE combined worship service at 10:00am. You are encouraged to invite family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others in your life to experience Christ born anew every day.

 

The Old Bethel Celebration Puppeteers are hosting an open dress rehearsal performance for the community at 7:00pm, Thursday, December 22.

 

Christmas Eve:

4:00pm FUN INTERACTIVE FAMILY SERVICE

7:45pm Prayer with the LIVE Holy Family.

8:00pm QUIET HOLY COMMUNION

9:00pm Traditional Candlelight Service

 

CHRISTMAS DAY, DON’T MISS IT!

Cookies, Cocoa & Carols! ONE family friendly festive worship service, 10-10:45am. Children are welcome to come in pajamas. Adults are encouraged to wear their most festive Christmas attire.

 

Growing in Faith Resources:

Try this daily prayer process on https://www.sacredspace.ie/

Read this book on the faith, Simply Christian by N.T. Wright

Remember that sermons are online for reflection and for sharing at http://www.oldbethel.org/worship-audio.

 

Serving Christ Together,

Pastor Jen

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