Alex Trevino and his family lived a few blocks from my house—the halfway point between my home and our elementary school. Each school day morning he would wait on his corner and join the parade of Mabry Street students already meandering toward the campus. Alex immigrated to the United States from Mexico. We morning walkers were intrigued with his language, his accent, the songs he knew, and the intrigue of having lived in another country. I primarily enjoyed the food. As our friendship grew, Alex often invited me to his home for supper. One day I told him how much I liked Mexican food and that I wish my mom would learn to cook it. In that moment—in one sentence—he explained to me the mystery of Mexican food (at least from a fourth grade point of view). Alex said, “I think all Mexican dishes contain the same ingredients, but they are wrapped up or spread out in different ways.” I’ve found this to be true with most cuisines.
It’s also true for this Advent/Christmas season…
During a normal holiday season, our congregation enjoys a Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols on the Sunday evening before Christmas. Along with Easter, this service draws our largest number or worshipers. Our Christmas Eve Service is another large gathering where children receive an annual gift and we all receive communion. This year, however, we cannot squeeze hundreds of people into our Sanctuary for either of these services…so…we are taking all the ingredients of these service and wrapping them up (or spreading them out) a little differently. This Sunday, December 13, we will gather for worship (or watch online) at the Peace Center and enjoy Lessons and Carols. On Sunday evening, December 20, we will host a ‘Luminary Drive Through’ at the church campus. The Luminary Drive Through will include: candles (obviously), communion, a gift for the children, an opportunity to donate to our annual Lula Whilden Offering for World Missions (all of which are part of our traditional Candlelight and Christmas Eve services) and will also include a Live Nativity and several musical ensembles. Finally, on Christmas Eve we will broadcast a short vesper service from our fireplace in the church Parlor—ending the season with music and a meditation to welcome the birth of the Christ child. All the ingredients of our traditional Candlelight Service and Christmas Eve Service can be experienced this year; they are just wrapped up and spread out in a different way. See you there!

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