With the likelihood of higher-than-normal guest attendance, we always give special attention to making these services both a meaningful celebration of truth and an evening that connects with those who don't know the Lord. Occasionally in the past, that special attention results in a major production. Other times it does not. Regardless, Christmas Eve Services are always a little different than the normal Sunday routine.
I've been through my fair share of Christmas season production pushes, and I want to give God thanks that this year has been different than most. We are one day away and yet I am completely at peace.
What has made the difference?
I think the biggest difference is that my faith in God is greater this year than last. However, there are some practical issues involved as well. While these probably won't help you in your last hours of preparation, maybe they will help you think about Christmas 2008.
- We kept this year's service simple, including only tried and true elements that we've actually executed in the past.
- Our music director got married this fall, which was a blessing for him but also the Christmas Eve service. In order to take a well-deserved three-week honeymoon, he had everything planned and approved in early November. While I know many of you started last January, November is way ahead of schedule for us. (note: I don't recommend waiting until November!)
- We decided to opt out of IMAG for the dramatic elements. We're going to try to make the drama seem more theatrical, and less like television.
- We're only doing one service instead of our normal two, since Christmas Eve has fallen on a Sunday.
- We actually put our Christmas set design and decorations into full effect on December 17th, rather than waiting for this weekend.
- Most significantly for me, the sound, lighting, and video crew members that volunteered are top notch and have handled all the included elements in the past. They'll know what to do, even though we are only rehearsing once. (note: I don't necessarily recommend limiting rehearsals either, but it works for us this year.)