Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The Giraffe, the Orange Juice, and other Christmas Eve Sightings
Well. The Christmas Eve service now a good 16 hours in the past, and myself having slept, had a nice (late) breakfast, and opened presents with my dear ones, I can share some of it here.
It was beautiful. My meditation was OK, I think... perhaps not "everything" I dreamed it would be, but offering, I hope, a real invitation. Larry-O wisely said it was "general." Indeed. (He also said, "There was a rift in the space-time continuum," commenting on my having rolled from the meditation directly into the pastoral prayers without allowing the choir to do a scheduled anthem.)
The congregation was, of course, larger than usual by about a third... which feels just lovely. We had one service, 8 PM, and a number of people have mentioned to me in recent weeks that they miss a later service (haven't had one since the most recent year Christmas was on a Sunday... two years ago?). I love a late service, and hope we will re-institute that next year.
The sanctuary was beautiful, candlelit and glowing. The congregation seemed very engaged, especially, I felt, during the communion portion of the service.
My ex-husband and his girlfriend were there, at my invitation, as well as both Petra and Larry-O. Also, friends from my street, for whom this was a first visit to New Church, and friends from other churches I have served. Lots of happy greetings.
Favorite moment, and the one for which, I believe this service will be remembered: During the children's message my plan was to talk about the animals present at the birth of Jesus, and to sing verses of "The Friendly Beasts," accompanying myself on the guitar. Someone mentioned a cow. Check! Then a donkey, and sheep. Check, check. Then, one lovely little girl (a visiting relative of long time pillars of the church), said, "What about a giraffe?" When I asked what gift the giraffe would bring, she said, "orange juice," and then laughed charmingly, clearly delighted with her own idea. And so I sang,
I, said the giraffe, with my neck so long
I added a verse to this song
I brought to Jesus orange juice,
I, said the giraffe (in Bethlehem, on the loose).
It was a good night.