Waiting

Dear Parishioners,
We come to the Fourth Sunday of Advent expectedly waiting. Christians around the world are waiting. Are we waiting for family to come home, for gifts under the tree, for abundant Christmas decorations? Those may be outward symbols of our waiting, but our anticipation at this time of year is for The Nativity of the Lord. Yes, the birth of the Christ child.

This year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. I’ve heard of many Protestant churches that have decided to cancel their Sunday services this year and focus their celebration on Christmas Eve. But why? Isn’t the point of Christmas Day our celebration of the birth of the Christ child? To me, celebrating Christmas Day on a Sunday makes it even more special. As Catholics, we should feel compelled to celebrate this sacred occasion with our family at a Mass on Christmas Eve and/or Day. At our parish this year, there are four opportunities for you to celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

Christmas Eve (Saturday, December 24th)
4:00pm—Often thought of as our family Mass, this celebration includes an opportunity for children to participate in the opening liturgy by carrying a component of the manger scene to the front of the church. To sign up to participate in this activity please use the signup sheet in the foyer. Our Children’s Choir will help lead music at this Mass. Our Praise Team will accompany music at this Mass, which will feature carols and service music interpreted in a contemporary style. Music will start at 3:30pm and will include Christmas carols and Christmas praise & worship, with the opportunity for all to sing along.

10:30pm—Our traditional ‘midnight Mass’ is a half hour earlier this year. Music will be led by our Adult Choir along with instruments such as trumpets, flute, and oboe. At 10:00pm our musicians will offer prelude music which includes choral music and carol sing-alongs. New this year will be a true candlelight element at the conclusion of Communion.

Christmas Day (Sunday, December 25th)
8:30am—This traditional Christmas morning Mass is led by cantor, organ, and full brass.

10:30am—This traditional Christmas morning Mass is led by cantor, our Festival Choir, organ, full brass and flute. Our Festival Choir is made up of our Adult Choir with the addition of others who have joined the group just for this Christmas Mass. (If you’d like to join our Festival Choir for special events in the future, talk to Craig or Roger after Masses or email music@stedwardschurch.org.)

So during this time of expectation, let us remember that “the most amazing Gift given to us at that first Christmas came wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. The Gift was more than a new baby. More even than a new human life. This Gift was life itself. This Gift, by taking on human flesh, raised us up to share in the Gift of divine Life. The Gift we all receive this Christmas—and every day—is the Mystery of God’s love dwelling among us.” (Living Liturgy 2017)

Craig Walker
Director of Music