A Weekly Newsletter
Thought for the Week
Son of God, Love's pure light
On Christmas Eve in 1818, an Austrian priest named Father Joseph Mohr asked the local schoolteacher and church organist Franz Gruber to create a melody and guitar accompaniment for a six stanza poem he had written called "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!"
John Freeman Young, an Episcopal Priest in NYC, enjoyed translating European hymns into English. He found "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht" and was immediately captivated. Young died in relatively obscurity and his name is unfamiliar to most of us. But, every Christmas Eve, millions of English-speaking people sing his message of heavenly love and peace.
The week leading up to Christmas of 1914 was marked by a series of unofficial and illicit ceasefires along the lines of the Western Front. German and British soldiers crossed over "no man's land" to mingle, exchange food, attended joint funerals, free prisoners, and play games of football in the space that had once been filled with bullets, smoke, and the agonizing sounds of war.
It was not a universal truce and many of the commanding officers of both sides disapproved of this behavior. But on Christmas Eve 1914, the British reported that "Germans have illuminated their trenches, are singing songs and wishing us a Happy [Christmas]." The two sides serenaded each other with carols, including "Silent Night" - a tune familiar to all.
Frederick Heath, a British Private, wrote to his family:
"all down our line of trenches there came to our ears a greeting unique in war: 'English soldier, English soldier, a merry Christmas, a merry Christmas!'...How could we resist wishing each other a Merry Christmas, even though we might be at each other's throats immediately afterwards?...Blood and peace, enmity and friendship - war's most amazing paradox. The night wore on to dawn - a night made easier by songs from the German trenches, the pipings of piccolos and from our broad lines laughter and Christmas carols. Not a shot was fired. "
These Christmas truces were a fleeting glimpse of peace, love, and humanity amid one of the most violent events of human history. We - humanity - became incredibly skilled at killing one another. Existing weapons were streamlined, primed for maximum efficiency. New methods of destruction were revealed, setting the stage for future conflicts. More than 25 million people were killed or wounded. And yet, someone had the completely insane idea to stick their head out of their small space of safety and walk towards a line of men who, up until that morning, had been there to kill him. They knew the peace was temporary. They parted from one another resigned to the reality that "today we have peace. Tomorrow, you fight for your country, I fight for mine. Good luck."
The war continued. There would be no other moments like the Christmas Truce until the general armistice in 1918. Many of the men who sang across the battle scarred land would not live to see the return of peace. Those who did survive relayed this outrageous story of Christmas bringing peace, friendship, and love to one of the worst times and places in the world.
This iconic Christmas song is not a grandiose hymn. It is a simple lullaby that soothes and quiets us. It defies national identities. It stops bullets. It raises spirits. It gives hope.
This carol is a temporary moment of peace that I hope you will carry beyond the hours of Christmas Eve.
Sunday Morning Schedule
- Middle School Sunday School, 9:15 AM (Youth Room)
- High School Sunday School, 9:15 AM (Stephen Ministry Room)
- Confirmation, 9:15 AM (Room 102)
- Contemporary Worship & Children's Pageant, 11:00 AM (Sanctuary)
Sunday Evening Schedule
- NO YOUTH GROUP
- Christmas Concert, 6:30 PM (Sanctuary)
This event is open to the community and we hope to see many of your faces!
Join us at 6:30 PM in the sanctuary and share in the joy of the Christmas season!
Christmas Eve Worship Schedule
- 5:00 PM: Children's Christmas Eve Service
- 7:30 PM: Family Candlelight Service
- 9:30 PM: Communion Candlelight Service
This is a special time of year for the Church. Come spend it with us!
On Christmas Eve, we are going to line the walkway to the church with white luminaries to invite all who pass by our doors to join us in Christmas Eve worship! We will be assembling these luminaries during Youth Group but we will need two volunteers for each worship service to light the candles inside!
If you'd like to help light these candles before any of the Christmas Eve services, see Liz!
The Youth will gather for a conversation about real-life issues and current events. More information is forthcoming!
- Saturday, December 19
Praise Team Rehearsal - 11:00 AM (Sanctuary)
- Sunday, December 20
Children's Christmas Pageant - 11:00 AM (Sanctuary)
Christmas Concert - 6:30 PM (Sanctuary)
No Youth Group (due to the Christmas Concert)
- Tuesday, December 22
The Longest Night: A Service of Remembrance and Healing, 7:00 PM (Sanctuary)
- Thursday, December 24 - Christmas Eve
Children's Christmas Eve Service - 5:00 PM (Sanctuary)
Family Candlelight Service - 7:30 PM (Sanctuary)
Communion Candlelight Service - 9:30 PM (Sanctuary)
- Sunday, December 27
Combined Worship Service - 10:00 AM (Sanctuary)
No Youth Events (Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Group)
Youth Program of Media Presbyterian Church
The Youth Ministry programs at MPC has long been a place that welcomes teenagers to embrace their questions and their struggles with faith in a healthy and safe environment.
The Youth Program is led by Ms. Liz Remelius, Director of Youth Ministries. Liz nurtures a deep love of education and believes that there is "a divine beauty in learning." She hopes that anyone who participates in MPC's Youth Ministry will be equipped to ask questions, search for answers, and turn that knowledge into action, both in the Church and the world.