I managed to go to three different church services this Christmas: Lutheran, Catholic and UU. We traditionally go to the Lutheran kids' service on Christmas Eve. It is Husband's family church and attached to the kids' school. It is a fun, low key service in which we sing a lot of songs. Unfortunately, this was not their year. Three ministers presided and everything just seemed "off". They kept flubbing their lines and one of the ministers actually outed Santa Claus!! I normally really like this service, but left feeling like it was an after thought.
After a lovely evening with the extended family (after the service), I felt like I needed something a little more. Growing up, we always went to midnight mass at our Catholic Church and I liked how magical it felt. So I went to "midnight mass for wimps" at my local Catholic Church - which started at ten. I had forgotten that they had changed the wording to so many responses and affirmations. Thankfully they had a cheater-card to help you through. Even with that, only about half the congregation could get out the new words. After thirty plus years of saying phrases one way, it will probably take another thirty to get used to the new way. I was disappointed in the sermon. I have heard tons of Catholic sermons and expected to hear a similar spiel. In the end though, I was thankful that my kids were not with me. It started off well, talking about recommitting to one's faith and truly living it. Then it made a sharp turn into virginity, teenage sex, abortion, contraception, natural family planning, and the sacrament of marriage. I realize these are all strong Catholic tennets, but the priest kept going on and on and on about them. Yes, I realize that Jesus was born of a virgin, but why the Priest felt the need to make this point so much, I have no idea. It was getting pretty uncomfortable (even more so then the Catholic marriage classes I had to attend!). I felt sad that he used this night to push the Catholic pro-life message. It was very uninspiring.
On Christmas Day morning we went to our UU Church. Normally we skip church on Christmas morning so we can be lazy and just hang-out. This year, daughter was asked to play a song on her harp, so we went. I was so glad. It was a little less formal then I like, but it was really meaningful. We heard the Christmas passages in Luke and Matthew and then shared our most memorable Christmas stories. It was a wonderful morning of sharing and caring. I am so happy we went as it really demonstrated the true spirit of Christmas. Caring for one another.
I hope you all had a great holiday, in whatever way you celebrate it!