Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near.
Today is called “Gaudate” Sunday. If you’re not Catholic, or even if you are, you probably don’t know about it. It is a real insider Catholic thing, but definitely a great concept (its the Sunday with the pink candle). The idea is just that we’ve progressed enough through Advent that its about that time when we should start getting into the spirit of Christmas. I am definitely getting into the spirit of Christmas because we’ve started serious preparation for Christmas at the Fairgrounds. Our planning for Christmas Eve is taking shape and looking good. As you take a look at your own Christmas plans I want to challenge you to think about being a part of this. Here are the things you can do:
First of all, you can join us at the fairgrounds, especially if you’ve never been. Its the largest, most inspiring Christmas celebration I’ve ever been a part of and you need to be a part of it too.I like to say that “Christmas at the Fairgrounds is paradigm for everything.” That’s because it is the place and the time where we are most authentically who we are as a church community. That’s why you need to be a part of it.
You can also invite a friend (who doesn’t have a church) to be a part of our church for the evening. No one will ever be insulted to be invited, and there are lost and lonely people out there waiting to be asked. In the process someone’s life could be changed. Just go to our homepage and click on the “Invite a friend” button.
You can help us out by coming early. We have a great presentation that begins at 3:30 (for the 4pm Mass) and 5:15 (for the 5:45 Mass). This program, which this year we’re calling “More Christmas,” is a terrific way to start really getting into the spirit of the evening as well as preparing for our celebration.
You can help us out by coming early and parking in the lots nearest York Road,and then sitting in the seats furthest from the Lobby (those seats are just as good, you just have to walk a little further to get to them). You can help us out by staying in your seat at the end of the service and not contributing to the dash for the doors. The added benefit of doing that is you get to enjoy a beautiful presentation of Handel’s “Halleluiah Chorus” by our Christmas Choir and orchestra. By the time the music is finished you can return to your car without waiting in any lines.
You can definitely help us out by joining us at the 5:45 service. It is exactly the same as the 4pm, just less crowded. It’s actually better than the first service, because we’ve had a chance to work out any snags. The Mass will be over by 6:45 on the dot, guaranteed. We have enough seats for everyone who comes on Christmas Eve, but most years we do not have enough seats at the 4pm Mass. Start a new tradition and come later.
The very best way you can help us is by serving. You can get up out of your seat and start serving. Christmas Eve only happens with the volunteer efforts of hundreds of people who generously give up a part of their own Christmas to enrich everyone’s celebration. Sign up in the Vista Lane corridor this weekend or next to join our team and serve in one of our Christmas Eve ministries. If you want to, you can sign up to serve with your whole family, your friends, or your small group. I guarantee that it will absolutely make your Christmas.
This is a great season of the year, and Christmas Eve is the greatest evening of all.
Come rejoice with us that the Lord is near.