A Remarkable Day In The Life Of A Remarkable Congregation
After a beautiful Christmas Eve service, many doubted anyone would show up for Christmas Day worship. Many people were en route to family gatherings. Many were home unwrapping their presents or preparing for Christmas dinner. Our secretary printed a smaller number of bulletins, thinking there would be extras for the Deacons to take on their delivery of poinsettias to the homebound. But more and more people filled the sanctuary , as old friends and new guests found their way to our service on Sunday morning.
They were treated to an inspirational hour of worship. Michael Shawgo’s bold organ accompaniment on the hymns combined with the quartets’ artistic interpretation of music and my preaching on “the Word Made Flesh— to make Christ the heart of our Christmas day celebrations. The most moving moment was the baptism of six-week-old Samuel Beukenkamp. As his parents, grandparents (and aunt) stood and professed their vows, as the congregation promised to become his Christian family by saying “We Will”to their vows, God covenanted to pour out God’s sweet Holy Spirit upon Samuel and fill his life with the overflowing grace of Jesus Christ. Even when I splashed the waters of the Trinity upon Samuel’s forehead, he remained asleep. We concluded the sacrament by singing:
Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit, marked with the sign
of Christ our King; Born of the Spirit, we are God’s children,
Joyfully now God’s praises we sing.
It was an incredible moment on an incredible morning for all God’s children . . .
Remember that Christmas is a 12-day celebration! On Sunday, New Year’s Day, we will read the story of the Three Magi (Matthew 2: 1-12) and inquire into the meaning of the gifts they brought to the Christ-child.
Merry Christmas! And a happy, healthy New Year!
David M. Neff