Rejoice, Rejoice!

On Christmas Eve, in the hours leading up to the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the congregation of the Albion First United Methodist Church gathered in a celebration of song, prayer, worship, and Holy Communion. As usual, it was a beautiful service filled with candlelight and music. For about an hour, we forgot that this will likely be the last Christmas Eve we will celebrate this joyous occasion in our historic church building – by next year, it will surely be sold and we will be worshipping at a new location and forging wonderful new joys and traditions. For about an hour, we immersed ourselves in the love of our church family and the love of God’s greatest gift – his only son! For about an hour, the world stood still…..and we rejoiced…..and there was hope, peace, joy, and love in our hearts.

It was a very special night, indeed. It began at 10:50 PM with a medley of carols played beautifully by Kae Wilbert on the piano and Marie Follett on the organ. At 11:00 pm, the service began with a stunning prelude of Jesu Bambino played by Marie Follett on the organ and Pastor Sue Boring on the French horn. Pastor Sue is currently the pastor at Eagle Harbor United Methodist Church, but she is well known to the Albion FUMC congregation, as she used to be a member and pastor here, as well. It was truly a joy to have her participate in our Christmas Eve service. Pastor Sue also sang and played guitar in a duet with our own Pastor Jack – a very moving carol that showcased both amazing voices and their shared love for the season and our congregation – an emotional highlight of the evening.

The evening continued with scripture readings intertwined with several beautiful carols and an inspirational message by Pastor Jack. The evening ended after Holy Communion with the sharing of the light from the Christ candle among the congregation, a moment of silence and words of hope – Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of the world”. The candles were extinguished and we sang Joy To The World……joy to all, indeed!

And……as we left the church a little past midnight on this wonderful Christmas morning, the snow was falling around us……just as it should be…….a perfect end to an awe inspiring night……God’s beautiful white blanket reminding us of the innocence and majesty of his most wondrous gift to us all! Merry Christmas to each and every one of us!

Here are a few photos of our wonder-filled evening:

Pastor Sue Boring and Marie Follett playing the Organ/French Horn Prelude – “Jesu Bambino”

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Pastor Jack Laskowski and Pastor Sue Boring in a lovely carol duet

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The Chancel Choir sang two Anthems – “Come, Shepherds, rise!” and “Welcome Yule”

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Marie Follett playing the Postlude, “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” with the altar ablaze with the lighted Advent and Christ candles and other beautiful decorations of the Advent and Christmas season!

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A very special thank you to Pastor Jack’s wife, Debbie, for taking these photos for me, as I was in the choir loft and unable to take them myself.

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