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The good, the bad and the kitschy

26 December 2007

What’s the good, the bad and the unspeakable in Christmas worship? That’s what Internet Monk seemed to be asking in his blog, inviting readers to contribute to ‘the open thread where you, the reader, can share with us the stories of your experiences at Christmas Weekend “Worship.”’

Share what you like that’s on topic, but I’ll admit I’m looking for the following:1) The meaningful. Either as your usual fare or against all odds 🙂

2) Our specialty in this thread has been the “contemporary” Christmas entertainment “worship” experiences that fall somewhat short of the actual meaning of the incarnation and birth of Jesus by their devotion to what’s hot on K-Love, etc.

3) The humorous, the bizarre, the completely inappropriate, the startlingly horrid… all done for that room full of “seekers.”

Well, we went to Compline and Matins on Christmas Eve, and the Divine Liturgy on Christmas day at the Church of St Nicholas of Japan in Brixton, Johannesburg.

It’s fairly predictable, as the services do not change much from year to year, unless Christmas falls on a Sunday or Monday. But, as usual, different things strike me each year, things that we have sung in previous years, but did not stand out and strike me as they did this year. And this year what struck me was poverty:

Hypakoe (Tone 8)
Heaven brought the first-fruits of the Gentiles as a gift for Thee;
A star summoned the wise men to the babe in the manger.
They were amazed to see neither throne nor scepter,
But only abject poverty.
What is more humble than a cave?
What is more lowly than swaddling clothes?
Yet the riches of Thy divinity shone through all these.
O Lord, glory to Thee!

That’s what jumped out and hit me this year. That is what was especially meaningful in the “usual fare”.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Steven Tramel Gaines permalink
    26 December 2007 4:23 pm

    It seems you and I were having some similar thoughts this Christmas. May Jesus continue to show us what it means to rejoice in true riches, which do not include money or belongings. (See my recent post about Christmas.)

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