Today is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. I'm grateful for the way our Advent traditions help us mark this season of deepening darkness. We don't rush to Christmas. We wait, wonder, long, lament, and strain our eyes through the darkest night toward the distant morning of Christ's coming.
On Christmas Eve, we will celebrate his coming with carols and candlelight and children's voices and great rejoicing. As we sing the carols we've been awaiting all Advent, I invite you to pay attention to the lyrics. So many of our carols not only rejoice Christ's first coming, but also point toward his second — the day when he will come again and set all things right. Our sermon series on the Four Last Things both highlighted the radical nature of Christ's first coming and oriented us toward his even-more-radical second; you can listen to last week's final sermon on hell here.
Below are details on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I hope you'll invite a friend and join us for worship!
Christmas Eve, 3:30pm, Greenbrier Baptist Church
5401 7th Rd S, Arlington, VA 22204 (parking available in the lot and on the street)
We will begin our worship indoors with joyful carols, a children's mini-pageant, candlelight, and communion as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Then we'll head outside for hot drinks, cookies, and more carols by candlelight around the fire. It will be COLD — but we have never been a church to shy away from extreme weather! In our staff prayer time this week, we prayed that our post-service fires might be a beacon of God's love in the midst of one of the coldest and darkest nights of the year. Join us as we defy the weather, light the beacons, sing carols, and enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate. Bring cookies to share!
There will not be childcare at this service. Coloring materials will be provided, and Greenbrier has space at the back of the sanctuary and empty nursery rooms for little ones who need a break or space to wiggle.
This service will *not* be available on Zoom, but will be recorded and posted to YouTube afterward.
Christmas Day Pajama Church, 9am, Zoom (link to join)
We're continuing our tradition of Christmas morning pajama worship together on Zoom — a wonderful way to worship together even as people travel! Roll out of bed, pour a cup of coffee, and join us for a short interactive service of Morning Prayer before opening presents. Bring your Book of Common Prayer, a candle to light, coloring materials for little ones, and join using the Zoom link above or on the Advent page.
I can't wait to worship with you over the coming week!
There's also a small personal celebration for me in the days ahead: December 26 is the one-year anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. I was made a priest outside in the cold, behind the dumpsters, in the shadow of the condemned wing of a dilapidated church. I wouldn't trade that setting for the finest cathedral on earth. It reminds me that Christ was born into the mess and ruin and hardship of humanity, and that is where he has called me — and all of us — to go.
As I reflect on the past year, I am still very much learning how to be a priest, and I am enormously grateful for the privilege of doing so alongside all of you. I look forward to our future together, as we step further into the places Christ is beckoning us to go — to love our neighbors and our place and each other more deeply.
It's a gift to be your pastor. Merry Christmas!