When I was young, our church didn’t have a Christmas Eve service. But every year, our Mom and Dad told us that we would have a family worship time at home – and that the children would be responsible for putting that worship time together.
I remember huddling with my sisters year after year – trying to figure what to do at that family worship time. We took our responsibility seriously, and we worked hard to find new and creative ways to mark this holy time. But a funny thing happened year after year. No matter how creative we wanted to be – no matter how many new ideas we came up with – no matter how much we wanted “this year’s worship time to be different” – we ended up doing pretty much the same thing year after year.
And I think that’s exactly what we needed to do!
There is something about the simple Christmas story – the simple story that can be heard and enjoyed over and over again. There is something about Christmas carols that makes them worthy of repetition. There is something about the symbols of Christmas that carries weight and meaning.
So, every year, after our rather serious planning meetings, we would end up with an almost identical worship time. We would read (and eventually recite) the story from Luke 2. We would sing together “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World.” We would talk about what Christmas meant to us and why it was so important. Every year, we would somehow find our way back to Bethlehem – and we discovered that the road to Bethlehem was very familiar.
It’s great to be creative. It’s wonderful for things to be different. But sometimes it’s good to go back to where we started.
Don’t forget to visit Bethlehem this Christmas!