An At-Home Christmas Eve
This photo of two of my girls is one of my treasured possessions.
It shows MacKenzie our youngest "leading the prayers" one Christmas eve day at our house, while Shelley, one of her older sisters, bows her head in prayer after having delivered the "Christmas message" (which she wrote). Also seen is Gus the cat who decided to take part when our oldest daughter decided to sit next to mom on the couch. The year? We think it was 1999.
This was our second Christmas Eve "at-home" service for our family. Two years earlier we stayed home for our first time due to an illness and the kids performed their own *Live* Nativity. The year this photograph was taken, my wife (an RN) had to work Christmas Eve and the girls felt bad about her missing the church's Christmas Eve service -- so they did one for her before she left for the hospital.
The secret to this service's success was two-fold, the staging of chairs for the leaders, and that microphone which we had plugged into a guitar amp. Kids love microphones and they WANT to talk when they have one -- even our shy MacKenzie who in those days was afraid of her own shadow. And "setting the stage" gave each a sense of structure and expectations for their moment leading us.
The first year we did an at-home Christmas Eve service the kids dressed in sheets and blankets and put on their own Nativity Drama. (I was the donkey, of course, and the girls still laugh about watching their little sister trying to hang on to both me and baby Jesus as she rode in.) Then we turned out the lights, lit a bunch of "Advent" candles with a word about what each one meant, and sang a few Christmas carols at the piano.
In the second year (pictured), in addition to the prayer led by the youngest and "meaning of Christmas" message delivered by Shelley, we each had to "pantomime" a portion of the story -- and then the mime read their portion out loud using the microphone. My oldest and I opened and closed the service with guitar-led Christmas carols.
There was one problem, however. Every year afterward when we started to get ready to go to a "real" Christmas Eve service at church, the girls would fondly bring up "doing their own."
Here in "COVID 2020" we have decided to "recreate" those at-home services, this time with two of the grandkids helping to lead. The now grown-up girls are debating just how we should do it, ...what baby doll should be Jesus, who's going to tell the story and how, and whether there should be photographic evidence
Do not be afraid to try it... for it's good news and a great joy, and may just become one of your family's fondest memories too.