Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Worship

Today, by coincidence of the calendar, we attended church on Christmas today. Many other churches have special worship services on Christmas Day, regardless of what day of the week Christmas may fall upon. (Midnight Mass, for instance - Actually someday I would like to attend a Midnight Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeline, just to have the experience.)

In our church, however, the only time we attend worship services on Christmas day, is if Christmas day falls upon a Sunday. This year we had that happy coincidence.

I like having worship services on Christmas, because it helps to reinforce the importance of Christ in Christmas. In our ward, we had a combined Christmas service with the other ward that meets in our building. We had a combined ward choir, and each Bishop took a few minutes for some comments.

I thought the service went very nicely. It took quite a while to administer the sacrament to the extra-large congregation. The chapel, and all of the overflows . There was a nice balance of congregational singing, and choir numbers as well. I participated in the choir, so I got to sing all the songs! Great!

The choir performed three songs, all of which I had performed before with previous choirs. They were:
  • Still, Still, Still
  • O come, O come Emanuel
  • Away In a Manger
The arrangements for all three of these numbers were quite nice.

I have a recording of the same version of Away In A Manger, that I performed with my high school choir. You can listen to it here:

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In high school, we made a choir album (recorded on a vinyl LP) of our "Concert Choir". I converted all of the Christmas songs to digital format, and posted them on my audio blog. You can listen to them here.

I met a new cousin today at church! He is from the "other" ward, and was the choir director of our combined choir. His name is Mark Bradford. After the meeting was over, I thanked him for leading the choir, and asked him if he was descended from William Bradford, of the Mayflower. He said that yes, he was. So I shook his hand and said: "Howdy cousin!" as I am descended from William Bradford as well.

We enjoyed attending the church services. Rather than disrupting our Christmas celebrations, it enhanced them. We were able to spend some quality time thinking of the life and mission of the Savior, and what he means to each of us, and the joy that he brings to us.

Sometimes I wish our church had Christmas Day worship services every year. In lieu of official church services when Christmas does not fall upon Sunday, we will need to make sure we have our own devotional service as a part of our Christmas tradition each year. -- Sunday or not.

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