Although still technically in the 4
th week of Advent,
(I allow the Christmas trees to go up but forbid the lights to be turned on – I know, call me old fashioned)
the Community Carol Sing on Sunday afternoon launched an enthusiastic start to Christmas celebrations. What a tremendous success this was when 150+ people, many visiting St Martin’s for the first time, raised a joyful Christmas sound. Thanks to those who brought friends and neighbors to experience the joy and energy of the St Martin’s community. We excel at these kinds of low-key social outreach opportunities that show-case for others in the wider community why our church commitment means so much to us. Our thanks to Lauren Hill and her team of volunteers who ensured the runaway success of this event. The other lovely aspect from Sunday was to see how the children’s choir is really growing in confidence as well as numbers under Gabe Alfieri’s friendly, yet firm tutelage.
This Friday, December 21
, on the Winter Solstice, our Christmas celebrations begin with the Blue Christmas Service at 5:30 pm. To experience a loss or to remember the anniversary of a loss at this time of year can be somewhat isolating as everyone around you is in full festive swing. Blue Christmas is best described as a time of reflection for the sorrowful in a season of joy. Again, I hope many of you will see this as an opportunity to invite others for whom Blue Christmas might be a helpful and healing experience.
On Christmas Eve, we begin at 4 pm with a wonderful and exuberant multi-generational celebration
in which the focus is upon our children’s dramatic telling of the Christmas story in their colorful pageant. This is a time when three or more generations of family members get an opportunity to worship together. In terms of numbers, 4 pm is now our largest Christmas celebration, so do remember to arrive a little earlier to get a seat.
Also on Christmas Eve, we have brought all the solemnity and beauty of the traditional 'Midnight Mass' back to a more manageable hour of 9 pm.
Except for Anglo-Catholics, Episcopalians as a rule don’t refer to the Eucharist as
Mass except on Christmas eve. At St Martin’s, we have found that with changing patterns of church attendance many of us find it more and more daunting for a variety of reasons to venture out at midnight.
On Christmas Day at 9:30 am we will have a simple, spoken Eucharist with no music for those who eschew all the pomp and circumstance of Christmas worship. On Sunday, December 30
th, our normal Sunday service is a celebration of the Eucharist in which lessons and carols replace the normal liturgy of the Word.
Hope to see you in Church this Sunday for Advent IV.
On behalf of the Church Wardens, Vestry, and Staff at St Martin’s have a Merry Christmas and blessings for the New Year – I have a feeling we might need them.