Thursday, December 24, 2009
Christmas Eve is filled with so many traditions. It is interesting the way some things become tradition for us. At first we do not recognize it is happening. It is only after years have passed and we begin to see how something has become tradition that we are truly able to recognize it and call it by name. When I was in seminary I was given a book entitled "The Christian Year with Charles Wesley." It was written by John Lawson, one of my professors. As I recall he gave those of us studying with him an autographed copy. Every year on Christmas Eve I read some of the selected writings. This year has been no exception.
There was a time when I would offer three services of communion and prayers on Christmas Eve. After people were served communion, I would move back along the rail, place my hands on the heads of some of the family members, and offer a prayer for that family as they knelt on Christmas Eve. It was not a long prayer, but it was a very personal and powerful moment of intercession for me. As the congregations got larger, such a service became impossible for me to do. It has always been one of the things I miss doing on this holy evening.
Between those services, while waiting on the next crowd to gather, I would take Lawson's book with me and read from it. It has been my companion on my many a Christmas Eve. One verse from the Christmas Eve meditation says, "To men of simple heart, The Savior still reveal, The Welcome news impart, Of joy unspeakable; To us who here our station keep, To us a child is given, Who wait to find, while others sleep, The Lord of earth and heaven." Far beyond my seminary days has this man blessed me.