Thursday, December 23, 2010
Liturgical Excesses at Christmas
I suppose at Christmas I should be a bit more charitable and express a little bit more good will toward my fellow Pastors and parishes but it is hard to let some of these things go by. Now, don't get me wrong, I turn off the lights and sing Silent Night in German and if all goes well, there is not a dry eye in the house by the end of the stanzas and the organ is but a fading echo into the stillness of the night. It is just that we try to make the night special and the service "different" on the very night when the thing that makes it special is the news of the Incarnation and how Jesus' coming in flesh prepares us for His return in glory.
I am not the Grinch that stole Christmas but I don't think that Santa has a place in Church on Christmas Eve. Nor do I think that there is ever a time when we should sing "Jingle Bells" on the holiest of nights. I just wish that we could make it a rule that on Christmas we ditch the strange and the affected in order to be true to the liturgy, the great carols of the season, and the story of His birth. When people come back to Church for Christmas services, we owe it to them to put on our best face, and that face is the one in which our personalities fade out and Jesus' coming in flesh is front and center. The liturgy and the great Christmas hymns and carols do that just fine. Communion, with it incarnational parallels, is, in my mind, essential to the services for the Nativity of Our Lord.
Well, I guess I have vented enough for today. . .