Tuesday, 28 December 2010

"The Peace of Christ Be With You!"

(Taken December 27th)

It was Christmas Eve and we were at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Everyone was heading to bed.  But Alisdair and I decided to stay up for a little while longer... and so we got in the car and headed over to Battleford to St. George's Anglican Church for their late night Christmas Eve service.

Upon arrival, tea or coffee and hot apple cider and Christmas baking were served in the fellowship hall.  Soon those gathered moved into the nearby sanctuary, receiving an "Order of Service" booklet that said, "Let us go now to Bethlehem (Luke 2:15)" on the cover.  We were also given a candle on our way in.

The Collect for Christmas Eve was as follows:

"Eternal God,
this holy night is radiant
with the brilliance of your one true light.
As we have known
the revelation of that light on earth,
bring us to see the splendour of your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever."

When everyone went to the altar to celebrate the Eucharist, Alisdair and I went up to receive a blessing.

We sang, "The First Noel," "A Candle Is Burning,"A Christmas Lullaby," "Who Is He?,"O Come All Ye Faithful,""It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," and "Silent Night."

"Who Is He?" was especially nice, as although it is not a familiar carol, the refrain was very uplifting:

" 'Tis the Lord!  O wondrous story!
  'Tis the Lord!  The King of glory!
  At His feet we humbly fall,
  Crown Him!  Crown Him, Lord of all!"

At the conclusion of the service, we "spread the light" - with Gordon Yarde coming down the aisle and lighting each candle of the person on the end of the pew.  That individual, in turn, would light the candle of the person next to them.  This continued down the row until the everyone in the whole congregation held a burning candle.  Most of the lights were turned off in the sanctuary and we sang "Silent Night" before blowing out our candles and returning home to our beds. Althought it was well after midnight in the Central Time zone (that the Battlefords are on) Alisdair noted that it wouldn't be midnight for us yet, if we had been home in Neilburg (as we observe Mountain Time).

Later, when we were in Battleford to attend the traditional Foreman Boxing Day get-together, we stopped to take the above photo of Alisdair in front of the sign at St. George's.

ALISDAIR'S THOUGHTS on the Christmas Eve Service:

"It was FUN staying up late.  My Mum got sleepy during the sermon and nodded off a little and dropped her service bulletin.  It made a big noise and I had to pick it up for her.  Later, I was scared she was going to doze off when she was holding her burning candle as she could have dropped that too!  She could have set the whole church on fire!  Luckily, I made sure that didn't happen!  As I was leaving, the minister kindly gave me two candy canes."

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