The early service is a shorter, and somewhat more chaotic, service aimed at families with younger children. It will include some prayer, some carols, and the telling of the Christmas story via an impromptu pageant.
The later service is our larger service. It will include the singing of carols, pieces from both voice and handbell choirs, prayers, a video, the reading of a poem by Maya Angelou, and conclude with lighting candles and singing Silent Night by candlelight.
The Scripture Reading is Luke 2:1-20. Here it is in the King James Version because, well some of us just hear the story told in that language.
The Meditation is titled Peace on Earth.
Early Thoughts: It is right there in the angel proclamation. Peace on Earth.
Centuries earlier Isaiah promised the coming of a child who would be called the Prince of Peace.
Each year we tell the story and share the hope for Peace on Earth.
So why is it so hard to find? Why have 2000 years gone by since the Jesus event and we have yet to really live into Peace on Earth?
It could be easy to despair, to give up hope. It could be easy to say the Peace on Earth is a fool's dream. Or maybe we could couch our despair in religious language and say that Peace on Earth will only be a reality when the Reign of God comes to full bloom on earth, that in the meantime the best we can do is to be a less-violent as possible.
But Christmas tells us different. At Christmas we are reminded that God has not (and will not) given up on the world. Once again God breaks into our lives, bringing the promise and the possibility of Peace on Earth. As people of faith, hope and love we continue to listen for angel song, we continue to run with the shepherds to see the one who has been born. Jesus, Emmanuel (God-With-Us), Messiah, Prince of Peace.