When it comes to Christmas Eve worship, I find that I am a living paradox.
Part of me loves the grandeur of a large place of worship, filled with lights, Christmas trees and other decorations. I love seeing a large pipe organ at the end of the sanctuary, and hear the joyous music echo through the massive building. I love seeing a choir of 60 or so voices, singing glorious Christmas music with the organ accompaniment or maybe even a small orchestra. Yes, to me, that is a festive and celebratory Christmas Eve.
Then there's another part of me - the part that sees Christmas Eve as a quiet and reflective time. A time for us to think about the humble origins of the Christ Child. It is a time of a few singers and guitar, just as it was for Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber, when they collaborated to bring to life the most cherished of all Christmas hymns, "Silent Night". It's a time for holding a candle and singing a capella in a small chapel set in the woods. And, to me, this is our way of worshipping the poor child born in poverty in a stable.