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A quick look back – Christmas 2012

January 16, 2013

CCC_2790all photos by Stephanie Felkai

Although it is half-way through January already, Christmas was not actually that long ago.  Here at Christ Church Cathedral, we celebrated the feast of Christ’s birth with great joy and many services filled with music and story and prayer.  One of those services was new for us and I’d like to share something of what we learned.

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Mary is confused…

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telling the story

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Gabriel proclaims the good news!

For the first time, the Cathedral celebrated the first Eucharist of Christmas earlier in the day on Christmas Eve (4pm, to be precise) and incorporated the Sunday School’s pageant fully into the service, rather than simply having it replace the sermon.  The service moved back and forth between the elements of the service  and the (bilingual) dramatic narrative of the nativity story with child actors and liturgical presiders sharing the space and the leadership of the gathered congregation.  This sharing was a profoundly moving experience for all of us as we found ourselves living out our call to be the whole Body of Christ in that moment.

What’s more, the interweaving of Christmas story and Eucharist made each a deeper, more fulsome expression of the Good News.  As one parishioner (and member of the volunteer pageant choir) observed: every pageant in the future will be wrapped up in the Eucharist and every Eucharist will be a witness to Christ’s birth.

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a sleepy angel

a happy shepherd!

a happy shepherd!

a very wise one

a very wise one

Some highlights included:

  • the self-assurance of our two young narrators, one retelling the Christmas story in English, the other in French
  •  angels dancing  in front of the altar during ‘Les Anges dans nos Campagnes’
  •  our 9-year old ‘one-man-band’, playing the piano, tuned bells and a variety of percussion instruments with such musicianship
  • the shepherds proclaiming the good news along, with the priest, in a joyful affirmation of faith
  • all the children walking the length of the aisle to share the peace with the congregation, most of whom they had never seen before
  • dressing visiting children from the congregation as angels, shepherds and wise-people for the last scene around the Holy Family
  •  watching the light from one candle multiply as the children passed the light between themselves and then into the congregation as we sang Away in a Manger.

Thanks to all who worked so hard and so faithfully on this beautiful service.

Click here for a copy of the service bulletin and here for a copy of the script (without stage directions).

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