This year (2016) our Christmas Eve service is at 4:00 PM.
Are you working this Christmas Eve?
I grew up on a farm in Southeast Iowa. When my parents first started farming, my dad had a second job, so when I 8 and 9 years old I was responsible for taking care of the animals in the evenings. It was especially hard during short winter days. I can still remember cold, dark evenings, with the wind cutting into my face and wire bucket handles digging into my fingers. Sometimes water would splash onto my coveralls and freeze.
It was cold and even scary outside, but, once I stepped in the barn it was a different world. You probably think of pigs as dirty, but in a farrowing house where sows are having little pigs there are clean rows of sows with litters of pigs the size of puppies. Each sow had a separate crate and the pigs would lay in little pink piles of ears and tails under their heat lamps.
When I think about cold winter evenings and warm barns full of straw, watching over our flocks by night, it means more that the Angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds and God wrote them into the Christmas story.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid (Luke 2:8-9).
We still have plenty of ordinary jobs. Maybe you will be working this week when most people are home with their families: driving a semi, ringing up groceries. If so, remember that God wrote people with ordinary jobs into the Christmas Story, “There were in those days shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks by night.”
Christmas Eve services at the Red Brick Church are at 4 and 10:30PM. You can attend before or after evening chores.