Volume 10, No. 12 (December 2015)
This year our elders decided that, for the six Sundays from November 29-January 3, we should combine our Classic and Contemporary Services and all meet together for the Christmas season. (This in response to such positive feedback from combining services about once every two months throughout the year.)
It was a challenge, and a lot of work! But it seems to have come off really well.
Each service was longer than usual, and used the contemporary band along with the choir, strings, and other instruments. Tying the parts together was a unifying theme each week, as you can see below. Each week the choir members were to come wearing a different color, in keeping with the theme.
FESTIVAL OF HOPE (November 29) looked with expectation to the coming of “Emmanuel” and the wonder of “God with Us.” The prophet Isaiah even made an appearance and reflected on the tremendous implications of what God had revealed to him as he wrote. The theme color for the day was yellow/gold, hinting at the Light that would dawn upon a dark world.
FESTIVAL OF WONDER (December 6) revolved around the truth that Christ was “Born to Die.” This was Communion Sunday, so the songs and readings prepared for the Table by focusing on the redemptive work that Christ came to accomplish. This time Isaiah was joined by Luke, and they alternated quoting from their respective books: Isaiah foretelling the sufferings of Christ (in Isaiah 53), and Luke relating their fulfillment (in Luke 23). The theme color for the day was green, suggesting the new life Christ came and suffered to provide for us.
FESTIVAL OF LESSONS AND CAROLS (December 13) was our regular major program with choir and orchestra. This year’s theme was “Good News! Great Joy!” As usual, the readers for the first service were internationals from our congregation, and for the second service the readers represented different age groups in our church. (The choir wore their robes, so no special color!) You can access the program HERE.
FESTIVAL OF JOY (December 20), the Sunday before Christmas, was quite a celebration. There was a lot of carol singing, including a couple of very lively Getty arrangements (“God Rest You Merry Gentlemen” and “Go Tell It on the Mountains”) complete with fiddle, accordion and banjo! Red was the joyful theme color.
FESTIVAL OF ANTICIPATION (December 27) celebrated Christ as “Our Present and Coming King.” We remembered the Magi seeking Him who was born “King of the Jews,” and read Scriptures and sang songs that speak of His present rule, as well as His future ultimate reign as King. Blue was our royal color for this day.
FESTIVAL OF NEW BEGINNINGS (January 3) will be our New year’s service, looking back at God’s faithfulness over the year behind us, and looking forward with hope and faith to the year ahead. We will have a couple of baptisms, four child dedications, and will hear four testimonies from people who have faced and/or are facing special challenges and opportunities with God’s help; one AMAZING and heart-wrenching story you can read more about HERE. We are using a multi-color theme for this day, as the rainbow suggests God’s promises. (One wag on staff suggested we call the service “Sherbet Sunday”!)
On January 10 we return to our regular schedule, with distinct Classic and Contemporary Services, but with a rich and worshipful time of being “Together for Christmas” fresh in our minds and hearts.
May God bless you, yours, and your ministries in the New Year ahead!