Posted: December 22, 2022
Christmas around the world
Every year on 24 December, my family goes to the Christmas Eve service at Park View Mennonite Church (Harrisonburg, Virginia). It’s a traditional ‘lessons and carols’ service, where we read the Christmas Story from Luke and sing accompanying hymns as we work our way through the text.
The whole service is enjoyable, but the most meaningful piece is at the end. Small candles (hidden in the storage closet all year) are passed out and lit as we sing “Silent Night.”
Watching the flame – which first comes from the Christ candle at the front of the room – spread from hand to hand, row to row always moves me. This practice of celebrating the light of Jesus coming into the world is a beautiful reminder that though Jesus is the source of light for all, we cannot carry that light alone, nor do we receive it directly from God: we receive it from one another and we are tasked to share the light of good news with those around us.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it” (John 1:5).
This is the good news of Christmas to me.
—Caleb Schrock-Horst is a member of Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA.