Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. Quite a Christmas with the big storm. My measurements this morning outside our home ranged from eight inches to two-foot drifts.
While most churches in the city were cancelling services last night, our church went ahead with the two scheduled services as well as the morning service. The highlight service is always our 11 o’clock Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve. This is a traditional service that dates back to my father’s days of ministry at St. John’s. Attendance last night was down in the low 100s from the usual 500 plus, but was just as wonderful.
The photo above was taken recently when we dedicated our new addition. I wish I had taken a photo last night, with the pews all lit by candles. St. John’s is such a beautiful church made even prettier on Christmas Eve. Laura and I delight in the attention to sound theology and traditional services with glorious hymns at our church home.
While we have always had a strong musical background at St. John’s with some excellent organists, including the great George Krieger, the musical portions of our services took off when Rev. Roger Goetz came to St. John’s in the early 80s. Under his leadership we have developed our adult and children’s choirs, added bell choirs and put a number of gifted soloists to great use.
Of course all of this is enhanced by the fact we have Stephanie Lange. Let’s put this in sports terms. Let any other church bring it on. In Lange, we have an operatic-quality voice that alone puts our musical team at the top of the rankings. LaBron James was a man-child in high school before going straight to the NBA. Lange easily could have done the same in musical terms. Instead, she took ride to St. Olaf with a little European training in Vienna on the side. Now, we have a voice that can shatter crystal. Of course, eventually, we’ll lose her to the pros. The MET (not the Mets) awaits. It would be inappropriate to yell out in church, “One More Year! One More Year!”
All the various talents were on display last night including a fine message from Pastor Lange, the father of Stephanie. Some might ask whether we brought in the senior Lange as a recruiting ploy to add Stephanie, but I can assure you Pastor Lange has skills too. Really, join us all sometime. You won’t be disappointed how they all add to God’s presence in such a wonderful setting.
On the Santa front, we had a great time opening packages. I love shopping. The girls all seemed happy with their gifts and were just as grossed out and Laura embarrassed as ever over the slightly bawdy notes that accompany all of Laura’s gifts. A new cast-iron skillet and a heart monitor highlighted my bounty. I’ve already cooked chili this morning in the skillet. Probably should have worn the heart monitor while outside digging through the snow drifts.
Rocket joined me for the shoveling and is outside right now laying in the snow eating his Christmas dog bone from Herman’s Meat Market. He has dug himself a small snow fort and has no intention of being inside soon.
We were going to have a big game night tonight that has been cancelled since Julie can’t get out of her duplex. We’re going to get Kelly for dinner here and finish off another wonderful Christmas with final gifts to each other tonight. We hope and pray you all have been safe and enjoyed family and friends together in God’s love.