Christmas Eve and the best neighbor ever
For the last few months, we’ve been unpacking what Jesus called the “Greatest Commandment” of all: love God with all you have and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. That second part—love your neighbor as much as you love yourself—has been our particular focus. What if we took Jesus seriously…literally…and REALLY loved, REALLY knew, REALLY cared for the people who live right around us? What kind of difference might that make in those people’s lives—and in our own?
What is powerfully ironic about this is: Jesus himself was the ultimate example of that “Greatest Commandment.” Think about it! He chose to leave the glory of heaven and the eternal presence of his Father to come visit us—to “move into the neighborhood” as the late Eugene Peterson puts it in his masterful biblical paraphrase The Message. Jesus showed us supremely what it means to “love your neighbor” when he came to us, loved us, cared for us, served us, and died for us. And ROSE for us!
That is what we will celebrate Monday night and Tuesday, December 23 and 24. And one way you might love YOUR neighbors would be to invite them to join us for one of our bazillion Christmas celebrations. We have plenty to choose from! You just need to choose carefully to make sure it is the right fit for your family.
On Christmas Eve, December 24, there will be three modern, family-friendly services at 3:00, 4:30, and 6:00 pm. These will be high-energy services with modernized versions of Christmas carols led by our modern worship band. There will be a kid’s message along with my sermon, and it will conclude with candle-lighting. If you have little ones through pre-K, we have nursery care available for all the modern services, and a quiet, peaceful family room is also available where parents can rock newborns or feed fussy babies.
At 7:00 and 9:30 pm, we will have two classic worship services featuring robes, choir, strings, organ, bells, carols, and candles. The 9:00 pm service will also include communion.
And for those of you who travel out of town on Christmas Eve, we have a bonus! Christmas Eve Eve! on Monday, December 23, at 6:30 pm. This will be identical to our other modern services. For those who would otherwise miss celebrating Christmas Eve at Chapel Hill, this is a chance to have your cake and eat it too! We’ve never tried this before. I hope you’ll take advantage of it if December 24 doesn’t work for you.
Regardless of which service you attend, I promise that all of us are doing our very best to provide a wonderful celebration for you, your family, your neighbors—and most of all, the guest of honor: Jesus! Pick your flavor of service, come and bring someone along!
Pastor Mark Toone