I’m not sure there is anything more challenging than trying to change a Christmas tradition. The lights on the tree are ALWAYS white! The tree ALWAYS goes in that corner. We ALWAYS go to the 7:00 p.m. service! I remember the one year we went crazy (it was the early ‘70s after all) and we decided to put the family Christmas tree in the opposite corner of the living room. It was weird. And it never happened again. Even in the recent remodeling done at the 900 manse where we live, allowances had to be made in the design of the HVAC system because of - you guessed it – where the Christmas tree always goes.
Of course there is a bit of irony to such Christmas traditions. For, with our iron-clad traditions, we celebrate an event utterly unique–something completely new and unprecedented. God drawing near to this world–the God of all the universe taking on flesh and coming to be here, with us.
In that spirit, this year we are changing things up a bit during the month of December. Hang on… here we go!
For the Tree Lighting that traditionally is the first Sunday evening in December, things will be just a bit different. The family fellowship dinner and Gingerbread house construction fest will be slightly later, at 6:00 p.m. We will gather on the front lawn of the church at 7:00 p.m., rather than in the joyous chaos of the Assembly Room. Desserts and refreshments at the 890 Miller manse next door will follow our singing and the lighting of the tree .
But there’s more. After last year’s Christmas Eve family service where there was literally no room in the “inn,” we have added a second family service. They will be held this year at 3:00 p.m. and at 5:00 p.m. We are excited to have a live nativity at both services, with hand-held candlelight at 5. With that change, the Lessons and Carols service, with a smaller choir, will be at 8:00 p.m. this year. Unchanged will be the 11:00 p.m. service with full choir and communion.
With these changes to all the great traditions of Christmas at Rye Presbyterian, we trust that it will be a season of renewed light, joy, hope, and peace for one and all.