Written by Donnie Angerman

This time of year, everyone has their traditions that remind them of special memories. For some it is decorating cookies or gingerbread houses. For some it is gathering around the tree on Christmas morning, enjoying the unwrapping of gifts and the joy that it brings. For some it is eating a big dinner complete with turkey and all the fixings.

I too have Christmas traditions that I have enjoyed over the years. Cutting down of our tree and bringing it home and decorating it. Putting lights up on the house is something that my dad still does every year, and I have continued with that tradition. Probably my favorite tradition is the whole family gathering together to exchange gifts and eat the aforementioned turkey along with mom’s homemade chocolate pie.

But a new tradition has come to mean just as much to me: the singing of Silent Night by candlelight at the Christmas Eve service. I do not recall doing this until Deb & I joined the United Methodist Church. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall any Christmas Eve service really standing out in my memories. I am sure we attended – growing up we never missed a church service. But those services do not jump out to me.

It wasn’t until there was a real chance that the singing of Silent Night would be canceled this year that I realized how much this tradition means to me. Thankfully, we will still gather on Christmas Eve, although it will be different, and close out the service with the candlelight singing of the hymn. A king, born in a manger, came to earth to save all of mankind, even those who despise him.

I think there is a deeper understanding in that phrase that comes with age. Just like realizing that your favorite part of Christmas is the gathering of your family. The ability to interact with and see for yourself that your family is going to be all right. The singing of Silent Night at the Christmas Eve service reminds me that the church is one big family and that we too are all going to be all right.

I guess one of my new favorite traditions isn’t that much different than one of my old favorite traditions. Merry Christmas to everyone and may God bless you in the coming year.

If you’ve missed any of our previous daily readings, you can find them all archived here. We hope these readings are helping you encounter God this season!