Church at Christmastime is really a great gift. It is a gift to many. This year at St. Mark’s is no exception to that. Christmastime church is a gift to the people who prepare for worship, including the preacher. That preparation included a Parish Secretary who prepared many different versions of church bulletins for many different services. Thank you Robert! That preparation also includes the fantastic choir and the best music minister. Thank you to Andrea Morosin and the St. Mark’s by-the-Lake choir for giving glory to God in such beautiful and meaningful ways. A Special mention must be made here of Bob Cooper and Christian Paulton, who along with Andrea performed a beautiful piece at the later Mass on Christmas eve – Thank you.

Christmastime worship is also a gift to the many who work to make the place so beautiful. St Mark’s looks so wonderful with the poinsettias, the crèche, and the Christmas hangings – all of it done to the glory of God. Thank you to the Chancel Guild – and to artist – Joe Pastovich for the beautiful Nativity hanging.

Christmastime worship is a gift to those who participate in the liturgy, the readers, the Eucharistic ministers, the intercessors, the greeters, the sides-people, and the altar servers. Thank you to all who came and took part in this year’s Christmas celebrations. Each of you took careful time and preparation and did such magnificent jobs.

Christmastime worship is a gift to the children whose wide-eyed sense of wonderment make the celebration all the better. Who will ever forget little Mary leading the children up the center aisle with baby Jesus held high to be placed in the crèche while the congregation sang- “What Child is This?” The Children were prepared for Christmas in Sunday School – thank you to Jane Cornett and the Sunday School team for readying our children for this great time of festival!

Christmastime worship is a gift to those who have been attending weekly for years.  The faithful who fill the pews on a regular basis, are gifted once a year with the reminder that God cares so deeply about who we are that God cared enough to come and dwell among us and to be One with us. This is a gift to those whose work is done quietly, week after week, with expectation of nothing more than a deepened relationship with the God for whom we wait! Christmastime is also a gift for those who attend once or twice a year. For many people Christmas brings back memories of a time that instructed who they have become. What a gift to see faces that we do not get to see each week. Some are visitors; some are extended family of the parish, some are neighbours, friends and some are just curious what is happening in that church down the road. But all are children of God – and ALL ARE WELCOME! Thank you to all who attended this year’s Christmas services so far.

This time of year provided such great richness in worship and in our time together at church. It evokes something special in our collective memories. A friend sent me a link today to a great piece of music written and performed by Matt Andersen a folk and blues artist from New Brunswick. Thank you John Simpson for this great link. It fits well with my thoughts of church at Christmastime. Enjoy!