November 14, 2018

A Christmas Eve Tradition

By Bob Lamb

One of our family traditions at Christmas has been attending the Christmas Eve service at Second-Ponce. Over thirty years ago, when we were newly married, Patty and I would go out to dinner with family and then come to the 11 p.m. service. The quietness of the streets, the lights and crispness in the air culminated in a beautiful service. “O Holy Night” and the candlelight singing of “Silent Night” made the birth of Christ seem so near.

Small children don’t do well at 11 p.m. services, so we modified our plans to take Betsy and Griffin to the early Christmas Eve services. They would be keyed up in anticipation of the next day, but this service helped them to focus on the real message of Christmas. Each year they received a special ornament, and we continue to hang some of these on our tree.  My favorite is a glittery outline of a steeple much like the one on our church.  It always has a special place on our tree and is a silent reminder of what our church means to us.

A rainy Christmas Eve several years back marked the end of our late-night service, but thanks to shorter, winter days showing up in the early evening still provides a dark backdrop to the evening. Traffic has stilled, so the drive in is peaceful, and the service is just as meaningful and beautiful as ever. We continue our tradition of dinner afterwards, sometimes at home, sometimes at whatever restaurant might be open on Christmas Eve.  All of this prepares us mentally and spiritually for Christmas morning and reminds us of the great gift of the Christ child.