Today is a busy one for almost everyone. Last minute shopping. Wrapping gifts. Tidying up the house for tomorrow’s dinner. Preparing for that dinner. And the final touches will be put in place for tonight’s church services.
Upper Milford Township is home to several churches celebrating the birth of Jesus tonight. Some will hold the annual Christmas pageant acted out by the children of the various churches. After weeks and weeks of rehearsals and learning songs, they are ready to tell the story of Christ’s birth to their family, friends and congregation members. Children dressed as angels, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, the Wise Men and more are prepared for their roles.
The churches have been decorated with red, white and pink poinsettias and greens—garland, trees and maybe some wreaths. Some use real greens, while others use artificial. It all looks wonderful. The greens may hold bows or ribbons, white lights or other Christian symbols. Candles are placed on window sills, while others line the aisles along the pews.
Most services include a portion held in complete candlelight. What a beautiful sight to see. People’s faces glowing as they sing “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World” or another carol while holding a small candle. Young children look around in awe at their fellow worshippers as the candles drip and flicker. It can sometimes be a very moving experience to worship in the candlelight.
It is a night of familiar Christmas carols sung by worshippers and choirs. The light sound of bells can be heard as a bell choir rings to the various tunes. And violins, flutes and pianos may also accompany the carols, or they may be heard as a solo piece throughout the service.
And no sanctuary or altar is complete without a crèche. Figurines depicting Christ’s birth. Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, some straw and the cattle, a bright star and, of course, the baby Jesus lying in the manger. They may be made of wood or ceramic, but tells the story to all.
Following services, many worshippers gather for cookies, hot chocolate and coffee, greeting one another and celebrating the Lord’s birth. Children and adults dressed in their Christmas finery can be heard wishing each other a Merry Christmas.
And listen for the toll of the bells throughout the township at midnight tonight.
Christ is Born!!