Hopefully by now you’ve heard that we’ve got something big planned for this Christmas Eve! So far we’ve said it will be nothing like any Christmas Eve service you’ve been to before, and that’s it’s going to be a lot of fun. But by far the two biggest questions we’ve been asked are “What is it?” and “How do I describe it to the people I’m inviting?” Great questions! The first has a somewhat complicated answer that I’m excited to share with you, but at the end I’ll leave you with the “elevator speech” version; something you can quickly tell someone as you’re inviting them to attend.
The “what is it” question actually has several different answers. Or, rather, this event is the answer to several different questions we began asking once it looked likely that COVID restrictions would extend through the Christmas season. Seeing those questions and how we answered them will hopefully give you a better idea of what to expect on Thursday.
I’m not going to lie; Easter 2020 felt like a huge letdown for me. The choir & orchestra had already been hard at work preparing for Easter when we got the stay at home orders last March. I was probably more excited about our Good Friday service than any other service I’ve ever planned. While I’m immensely grateful for how our staff and our worship team have been able to remain constantly flexible and gracious in a year of constant change, I did not want to build anticipation again only to be unable to follow through on our plans. I also felt that any attempt to modify what we’ve done on previous Christmases would inevitably feel like another letdown… not to mention the fact that scheduling 4-5 Christmas Eve services in order to accommodate our typical crowd with current attendance restrictions was not something I wanted to ask of our team. So to the drawing board we went!
It’s easy to get hung up on all the things we hate about 2020. But Church, there have been so many wonderful things that have happened this year that would not have been possible in a “normal” year! Someday I look forward to sharing many of those stories with all of you. For all its challenges, griefs, and disappointments, though, 2020 has been a banner year for innovation. If ever there were a year to think totally outside the box, this is it.
One of my favorite things about Faith Bible Church is how God has blessed us with a congregation that is humble, hospitable, creative, and eager to share the gospel! In particular, the number of talented artists in our body is a rich blessing from God, which presents us with a very unique opportunity to display the beauty of the Gospel this Christmas season. Combined with the warmth and friendliness that comes naturally to our people, we wanted to design an evening which gave us the opportunity to welcome many to enjoy this Christmas season with us in a unique and creative way.
As we all know, our State government has imposed various restrictions on churches in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19. Our elders have chosen not to abide by all of those restrictions in our Sunday morning gatherings (for more on that decision, see here).
However, because Christmas Eve is not a biblically mandated gathering, and because we wanted to be able to openly invite our community to attend, we felt strongly that we ought to do all we can to abide by the current COVID guidelines for this event, so that we may “put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry” (2 Corinthians 6:3). There is no shortage of those who seek to disparage Christ & his Church; we want to give them no opportunity to do so at such a public celebration of the gospel, which is why every aspect of this year’s event fits within the current guidelines for churches, including a backup plan we will put into effect in the event restrictions are tightened further in the next few days.
One of the greatest blessings and challenges in any Christmas Eve service is the fact that so many who attend each year are visitors. While we love having them with us on Christmas Eve, we are always left wondering where they are the rest of the year, and how we can best connect with them. So in designing something new, we wanted to ensure our elders would have the opportunity to connect personally with those in attendance. This is why, as folks are coming to the end of their self-guided tour, our elders will be praying briefly with and for each family, and we’ll be able to follow up afterward with those who do not have a church home.
In summary, our Christmas Eve has sort of a “Night at the Museum” flair to it… we will be telling the Story of the Incarnation of Christ through beautiful and creative artistic presentations of the Christmas story, making use of the doctrinally-rich lyrics from classic Christmas carols which are familiar even to most outside the Church. From hot beverages and festive caroling outdoors to singing by candlelight in the sanctuary, this will be a fun and memorable night that will make a lasting gospel impact. Please join us!
And for those looking for a one-line description…
From 4-6pm on Christmas Eve at Faith Bible Church, we will have a self-guided walking tour featuring original artwork and traditional caroling, celebrating the birth of our Savior. Learn more at fbchurch.org/christmas!
P.S. We are still recruiting volunteers to serve at the event. Sign up to help here.