“If We Don’t Sing Silent Night, Does Christmas Even Come?”
by Donnie Angerman
I grew up going to a small, country, Baptist church. I honestly don’t have a lot of memories of it other than having sunrise services on the banks of a small creek that ran in the back. I do remember that our family would attend almost every Sunday & Wednesday evening service. I am sure that we attended Christmas Eve services, I just have no memory of it.
Like many people, I drifted away from the church as I grew into adulthood, into my twenties. When our son was four years old, Deb & I decided that “the boy needed Jesus” and we started attending a local United Methodist Church. It didn’t take long for our family to become a part of this new church family.
When we attended our first Christmas Eve service, I was taken aback when we ended the service by singing Silent Night by candlelight. It was stirring to be standing in an old church sanctuary with no light other than the candles that everyone was holding. It seemed like the perfect way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Several years passed and one night I was sitting in a leadership meeting when the subject of the possibility of catching the church on fire because of all these candles being lit. It became a fierce debate over whether to continue the tradition or not. It was then that it occurred to me just how important this small aspect of Christmas Eve worship had become to me. Finally, it was agreed that the tradition could continue but the ushers had to be prepared to discharge a fire extinguisher “at a moment’s notice.”
When Deb & I started attending Haymarket Church, I was concerned that we would no longer be able to carry on a tradition that had come to define the Christmas Eve service for us. We were relieved when, as the service was ending, we were able to gather outside, hold lit candles and sing Silent Night. We even had a short outside service during Covid just so that we could continue the tradition because as Pastor Brian said, “if we don’t sing silent night while holding candles, does Christmas even come?” I hope that you will join us this year on Christmas Eve and help us to continue to make memories of this special night.
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Find our ’22 Advent devotional archive online. haymarketchurch.org/advent