Our annual Service of Lessons and Carols was absolutely wonderful! The music was terrific, the readers were all superb, communion was quiet and meaningful, and singing “Silent Night” by candlelight was just the perfect end to a stirring service.
My gratitude is overflowing! Our Music Director, Len Rogach, deserves the lion’s share of appreciation for choosing such wonderful music and directing the Chancel Choir and the English Handbell Choir, as well as accompanying the hymns we all sang. It took a considerable amount of preparation (and patience therein), and he was by far the busiest person in the church during the service. The choirs, including Elaine Korhonen’s solo, performed all the music beautifully and as acts of praise to God. All that amazing music came after 11 p.m. and after all the same people had sung and rung at the regular 10 a.m. Sunday worship service as well.
The readers were all superb. My wife, who also read one of the lessons, mentioned to me that “each reader’s voice had a different timbre.” Then she asked, “Did you choose them for that?” I replied, “Thank you for noticing such a subtle detail. By the way, what’s timbre?” (“Timbre” refers to the nature of the sound of their voices.) All of the readers volunteered.
Also, it took ushers and greeters and office staff to make the atmosphere worshipful, meaningful, and engaging. Candles had to be distributed and collected (and ordered ahead of time if in short supply), there was an offering to be received, and there were bulletins to be printed. This was an endeavor requiring the efforts of a lot of people giving their best for worshiping God on Christmas Eve.
The gathering of people in the pews is unlike any other time of the year, when families are reunited, absences felt more keenly, and hearts are open to the promise of Christmas. It’s quite alright to feel a sense of satisfaction for having offered this gift to God and to the broader community. Together, we proclaimed “the reason for the season” as we lifted up the birth of Jesus Christ in word, prayer and song.