There’s something pretty classic about a candlelight Christmas Eve service. A church completely decorated in Christmas decorations (which I’m becoming particularly grateful for considering how difficult it is recently to decorate with ‘Christmas’ decorations rather than ‘Holiday’ decorations), filled with people who have to be in good moods (it is Christmas after all), and lots of Christmas music which I already know the words to. When they turn the lights off and there’s only candles it’s especially classic, beautiful, and festive.
However, it becomes a little less festive when your Grandfather starts dripping hot wax on his finger, making you worry he’ll burn himself and then drop his candle, and as you lean over to let him know this is happening you realize you almost caught yourself on fire on your Grandmother’s candle, who is sitting below you. And then I get nervous I’m gonna drop my own candle, which of course would probably be followed by some sort of four letter word that isn’t exactly church appropriate, and the church going up in flames. I’ve had the same nightmare about this for the past four or five years. So then I spend the entirety of Silent Night focusing really hard on my candle and my ability to hold it completely straight.
I’ve also found that Christmas Eve is the one time of year that a lot of people actually go to church (myself included, I’m not judging), so you end up seeing a lot of people you don’t normally see. This can either be good (I always look forward to seeing Dan, who is in Iraq again this year, Angie Hepler and others who occasionally appear) or bad, if it requires awkward small talk and the same, rather difficult, attempt at explaining what a ‘Program Data Coordinator’ is without making it sound boring and unimportant (because clearly I’m neither boring or unimportant).
That and the music. I love that anyone and everyone is allowed, and encouraged, to play, but it’s sometimes really hard not to laugh when it sounds probably a lot like I did as I practiced my flute day after day during Junior High. That being said, I heart the men’s choir, and wish they would do all the music. And sing some Kathy Mattea. Is that weird that I want the men’s choir singing Kathy Mattea? Oh well…
So despite the sometimes more challenging parts of the traditional candlelight service, I’m pretty sure it’s not something I’ll give up anytime soon, and still somewhat enjoy.