On Sunday morning, December 23, we had just one service at 9 AM: Advent Lessons and Carols. Then the choir had a special two-hour practice while others "greened the church." They made garlands of fresh pine and laurel, which were draped over the old, dark wooden beams high in the nave.
Christmas Eve services began at 4 PM with the Children's Christmas Play. We had two Festive Eucharists, with incense, bell choir, choir anthems, carols, and even a marimba. The first service was at 8 PM; the second, at 11 PM. "Midnight Mass" is an Episcopalian tradition, but I wonder how long our sleep-deprived generation can keep it going.
Tonight we welcome 34 homeless men and 4 homeless women for a week's stay with us. They'll have a warm place to sleep and they'll have a hot, home-cooked dinner every night. After breakfast, everyone will leave for the day, taking a bag lunch. Many of our guests have jobs. Those who are unemployed might head for the public library or the "day center" on Route One. Next Sunday morning, our guests will move to another congregation. The Winter Shelter began the first week in December and will continue until mid-March. Over 15 congregations, including the synagogue, will each host the guests for one week.