When Charles Dickens died in 1870 at the age of 58 and was laid to rest in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey, the priest who gave the eulogy told a small group of family and close friends: “A Christmas Carol is the greatest charity sermon ever preached.” That’s still true 150 years later.
It’s striking to notice how many of our most beloved stories were inspired by the Gospel Nativity Narratives. At my house, Christmas is not finished when we get home at midnight after five Christmas Eve worship services; we still have to watch one of the classic Christmas movies; it’s mandatory.
We put them in rotation: One year it’ll be Home Alone Winnetka, and the next, Home Alone New York. Then maybe one of the many versions of A Christmas Carol, or Love Actually, or It’s a Wonderful Life, or Miracle on 34th Street. Your family probably has its own sacred canon of obligatory cinema.
Those Christmas classics are all important and beautiful and moving but also derivative from the original, and I hope you’ll take some time out from your cherished Yuletide convivialities to join us on Christmas Eve at 3*, 6*, 9, or 11 p.m. to hear the story of our loving God who crossed unbounded eons of ages and vast infinities of interstellar expanses to come crawling into space and time on the hands and feet of an infant peasant. It’s the story of our Creator who refuses to leave us alone to our own meager devices.
This year we’ll be focusing the nativity narrative from St. Luke, who is renowned among New Testament scholars for his “preference for the poor”: a carpenter and his teenaged fiancée, great with child; migrants on the road far from home; no room; the stable; the manger; the beasts; the humble shepherds.
Choose the service that fits best to your crowded family festivities, but the Kenilworth Union staff can give you a money-back guarantee of a seat, if you come at 9 or 11 p.m.
As Tiny Tim puts it: “A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, Every One!”
*Childcare is provided; live streaming of Worship CST provided here.