Sunday, December 25, 2005

One more holy night

Last night we gathered in a plain room, sang Christmas carols, prayed and listened to scripture readings.

It was the Plow Creek Christmas Eve service, an annual event that brings together those of us who are not traveling to see family and those of us who traveled to Plow Creek to see family.

We sat in a rough circle of folding chairs. On a small table in the center of the room a single white Christ candle burned.

As we sang about a baby being born the candle flickered.

Sarah read, "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world".

We sat there crazy enough to believe and sing about God shrinking from creator of the universe to a baby.

As we sang the Christ candle burned.

Then Emily Fitz, home from physician's assistant school in California, handed out candles and we formed one large circle around the room. Someone dimmed the lights until the candle at the center was the bright.

Then Louise Stahnke, who led worship, lit her candle from the Christ candle in the middle of the room. Then she lit two other people's candles who each lit the candle of a person next to them.

Rick Reha started us singing "Silent Night, Holy Night."

As we sang, slowly the fire and light from the Christ candle passed from candle to candle along each side of the circle.

Five year-old Helen Moore with long brown hair and churubic face stood next to me. When her candle was lit she turned and solemnly lit my candle. Then I turned and lit Sarah's candle.

We sang cheerfully, gratefully, believing that this baby, born oh so long ago, became a man who passed on such powerful love from his Dad in heaven that it is possible for us to love one another...and even our enemies.

The darkness did not have a chance. As we sang the room filled with flickering candle light.