Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent 2012



             No matter who you are, what you believe, or where you might be during the Christmas season, no one escapes endless hours of secular and religious Christmas carols blaring from stores, radios, churches, and schools.  Most of what we are exposed to is not well done and it also seems that any topic can be turned into Christmas music.  Might I remind you of the infamous "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" to make my point.  These songs seem to be never-ending and soon become a mind-numbing buzz that starts the day after Thanksgiving and with luck ends on New Year's Day.

Now, with that being said, how could we possibly have Christmas without the music?  We could not and should not but I do have a few observations about our sacred music and the special place it has had in my personal history of Christmas.

As a member of Bull Street Baptist Church through my college years, I always participated in the Tri-Church Festival that was held the second or third Sunday in Advent.  It was a joyful celebration with thoughtful choices of music and scripture.  It is a tradition that I cherish having grown up celebrating.  At Bull Street we did not have a Christmas Eve service and I was an older child before I had the opportunity to share in that tradition.

I began to go with my grandfather to White Bluff Presbyterian Church to their Lessons and Carols Service on Christmas Eve when I was about twelve years old.  That beautiful service with my beloved grandfather became an experience I will always treasure.  The sanctuary was small and had a modern design.  On Christmas Eve, when only candles burned and sparkled off the narrow windows, in that seemingly breathless sanctuary, I was awestruck.  Sitting beside my quietly reverent grandfather was the most wonderful example of what worship and love for the baby Jesus should be.

Now, with my own family, I have twenty-five or so years of celebrating Christmas Eve with First Baptist Church of Savannah.  My experiences with my grandfather set very high expectations for what I would experience in our sanctuary and I have never been disappointed.  I wait for this service each year knowing how much I need the focus it provides after all of the chaos that comes before and sometimes gets in the way of the real meaning of this season.  Thanks be to God for my Christmas Eve services with my grandfather and for the blessings that come with our Carols, Candles, and Communion service at First Baptist Church.

- Barbara Creaser


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