One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the Midnight Candlelight Service. Our church doesn't actually do this kind of service, my family visits other churches wherever we happen to be for the Holidays! We don't care what church it is, provided it's a mostly traditional service with the old carols, a reading of Christ's birth and of course, a candle at the end. We could do something similar at home and have tried in the past but it just isn't the same. There is something special about standing in a chapel with hundreds of people, everyone there for the same purpose and watching their faces shine in the candlelight while singing 'Silent Night'.
Last year was extra wonderful. My younger brother was home for a couple weeks. He had been asked last minute to fill in for an ill french horn musician at a church down the street from us for their Christmas program(My brothers got all of the musical talent in the family- my other brother sings opera). In addition to being able to watch him play for the first time in a few years, the early stages of labor kicked in when we started to sing! It was such an amazing and happy feeling.
If the candlelight service isn't something your family has as a tradition currently, it's one I highly recommend trying this year. Every church we've ever been to we've always felt welcome at, so don't worry if it isn't your 'usual' church or you don't even regularly go to church in the first place. Afraid it's past your kids' bedtimes? Don't worry. They might fall asleep at the service and can always sleep in the next morning! Do you have other family or friends in the area or just visiting? Try to go together. You can party all evening, go out for the service, come back and open gifts or drink some egg nog.
It's free. It's uplifting. It's about the two best things at Christmas: Christ and family.
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