Mostly, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of a community that is willing to keep it with me. It's a lot to ask of people to come to church on a weeknight--some to serve at the altar, some to read, some to sing in the choir, some to fix the post-liturgical repast--especially when freezing rain is in the forecast. But I asked, and about 70 of them said yes. That's about half of our total attendance on a typical Sunday. Certainly critical mass (pardon the pun) for soul-satisfying worship.
To paraphrase Ray Kinsella, "If you feed them, they will come." So we had spaghetti and garlic bread and salad ... and a little red wine for the grownups. Three of our high school thespians did a brief "reader's theater" presentation adapted from Matthew's and Luke's gospels. People lingered, enjoying one another's company.
Before that, in the liturgy, we began in dark silence (or was it silent darkness?). After a greeting mentioning light, and a snippet from the prologue to John's gospel about the light that the darkness could not overcome, the altar candles, and the people's hand candles, were langorously lit. Then, while everyone sang the (really) ancient Greek hymn Phos hilaron (usually rendered "O gracioius light," but I like to think more literally: "O hilarious light!"), I walked around the altar swinging incense, which, to tell you the truth, is one my favorite things to do.
The homily was a "children's sermon" (not a frequent event in my minsitry). I gathered them around the creche and sort of did the Art Linkletter thing (if you catch that allusion, you're really old; if not, don't worry), hoping, of course, that the adults would overhear, because I was wanting to get through to them as much as to the kids. I suspect it probably worked, at least a little bit.
Oh ... and I got to sing "Brightest and best of the stars of the morning," which, if I didn't get to sing it, would rob me of that old "Epiphany feeling." See, I'm a little eccentric in what I get sentimental about.
The Lord has shown forth his glory: Come, let us adore him.