The Villager Voice ~ from Alan

This is the time of year when lots of folks turn once again to the church to find the spirit of Christmas – the familiar words and carols and sacred spaces that bring the meaning of the holiday home to them.  This Sunday will undoubtedly be one of our United Church’s better-attended services, as our choir and Karli bring us their annual cantata, which members and friends alike say is the service which makes their Christmas.

Still, from time to time I have heard both colleagues and congregants make less-than-generous comments about those who chose to come to worship only in the holy seasons of Christmas and Easter.  There is even a rather snide term coined for them – they’re called Chreasters.  But I reject the idea that people we only see a couple times of year are somehow second-class church-goers.  When we say Everyone is welcome, it doesn’t have to be on our schedule, or conform to our own worship habits.

I was really touched last Eastertide by a comment one such occasional worshiper wrote on our church Facebook page.  You may recall we posted a photo of our children waving their “Alleluia sticks” – glow sticks we gave them to waggle whenever we said the word Alleluia on Easter morning, a word that gets quite a workout that day.  The writer commented, “I love my Christmas Eve church!” (remember, she wrote this the day after Easter), meaning, well, us.  She is someone who readily admits that she is only in church twice a year, but she loves what we do here on those two occasions.  The comment moved me; it said to me that wherever else life takes her, she knows she has a church home here.  Why anyone would think to disparage such a person is beyond me.  I’m just glad she’s here.

And I’m glad you’re here as well.  You may be in your customary pew every single Sunday, you may be here occasionally, and maybe I only see you twice a year.  In one of my former churches we tweaked the UCC’s motto just a bit to express it this way:  “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you have a church home here.”  The former church still uses these words of welcome; I pray they also define the welcome we offer at the United Church of Chester.

Merry Christmas, friends!

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