In my first church we used to have a Midnight Communion (starting at 11.30pm) on Christmas Eve. It was a wonderful service, lit by candles, where the joy and anticipation of Christmas was appropriately refocused through bread and wine into a reminder that the narrative of Jesus did not end when the Wise Men left for home by another route.
It did not even end when he and his family became refugees and fled to Egypt to escape the jealous tyranny of Herod.
This was the beginning. It led the carpenter’s son to a cruel execution on a wooden gibbet. And on the night of his arrest the Nazarene had told his friends to remember him and what he had done for them every time they ate bread and drank wine.
To do so at midnight on Christmas Eve is incredibly poignant to me.
It reminds me that pain, loss, disappointment and dashed hopes overshadowed Christ’s birth, and still does today for some people.
It brings home to me that when the angel announced to the Shepherds that, “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you” it was true, even though they could not have imagined what that really meant.
It brings together for me the birth and death of Jesus in the same way as we find in John 3:16 – God’s love for every person expressed in sending Jesus into the world so that…
It is a moment of presence before the presents: contemplative calm before the clamour and chaos.
Whether or not you go to a Midnight Communion tonight, I pray that you will find that peace yourself today.
Be blessed, be a blessing.