About Christmas

Christmas 2016

5:00 PM Christmas Eve (A festive service for all ages)
We are pleased this year to have the Albany Consort playing with our worship. 
They will also be playing before worship beginning at 4:45
10:00 AM Christmas Day (We gather early at 9:30 for hot cider and cookies)
10:00 AM, January 1, the Sunday in Christmas (The celebration continues)
10:00 AM, January 8, the Sunday of the Epiphany (The visit of the Magi)

What is Christmas?

  • The festival day celebrating the birth of Jesus, and
  • The 12-day season from December 25 to January 6.

When is Christmas?

  • Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25th.
  • (In Israel the day began at sunset the evening before, so Christmas Eve, the night of the 24th, begins Christmas).
  • The Christmas Season begins with Christmas Day and ends with the celebration of Epiphany on January 6.

Why 12 days?

  • The incarnation (God becoming human in Jesus) was originally celebrated on January 6th in the eastern portion of the Roman Empire and on December 25th in the western portion of the Roman Empire. The Christmas season came to span that period.

Why white and gold?

  • The color white is used for all festivals celebrating events in the life of Jesus.
  • Gold is also used at Christmas and Easter, especially on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.
  • Jesus’ robes were “dazzling white” at the transfiguration, and in the vision in Revelation 1 Jesus has a golden sash.
  • White or radiant light is the common description for heavenly messengers.

What happens in Christmas

Christmas Eve

  • The Christmas Eve celebration reads the story of the birth of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke (the traditional story of Mary and Joseph, the angelic announcement, and the shepherds at the manger).
  • The service culminates with the singing of Silent Night by candlelight.

Christmas Day

  • Christmas Day begins in the entryway of the church as we gather with cider and cookies.
  • The service beings with an ancient proclamation about the birth of Jesus and the community processes into the sanctuary singing.
  • For the sermon on Christmas Day we read a children’s story that speaks something of the message of this day.
  • The Christmas Day service has something of the sweet warmth of a family gathering – as when a family might sit by the tree and a fireplace reading the Christmas Story.

The Sunday in Christmas

  • We continue reading Luke’s account of the Nativity with Jesus’ presentation in the temple where he is greeted by Simeon and Anna.

The Sunday of the Epiphany

  • On the second Sunday in Christmas, nearest to January 6th, we celebrate the festival of the Epiphany.
  • The central story for this day is the visit of the Magi from Matthew’s Gospel.
  • We begin our service with a procession of the magi and the presenting of their gifts at the altar.
  • The word ‘epiphany’ comes from the Greek word ‘to make manifest.’ It celebrates Christ revealed to the world, symbolized by the Magi kneeling before the child Jesus.