Dear Parish Family,
During one of my Christmas breaks from seminary, I spent it in Kurianoor with my grandfather. Before Christmas day, I visited the vicar of my mother’s home parish. He asked me to assist him for the Christmas morning Holy Communion service. I told him my concerns with my language, and that there were only a few prayers I can say as a lay leader. He said it’s fine. I accepted the invitation. But then he told me the time: service is at 5:30am, be there at 5am.
That means I need to wake up at least by 4am. And to be on the safe side, my alarm would have to start going off by 3:30am, and set multiple alarms as well. Come Christmas morning, I wake up at 4, get ready, get to church just before 5am. It’s just Achen, the sexton, lay leader, myself, and a few scattered members of the parish sitting in the pews in prayer. Curtain is closed. Preparations are being made. It’s 5:30am, we’re ready to start. The bell rings. The organ starts. Achen begins his chant. The curtain opens. As Achen turns around with the censor, and we turn around with him to face the congregation, I saw a full church.
I don’t know the origins of the tradition of having service so early in the morning on Christmas, but to see the faithful be faithful that they’d come to church even that early in the morning – and on time, spoke volumes to me.
If you were a faithful Jew living at the time of Jesus’ birth, and you heard that the Messiah was born and he is the Son of God, you wouldn’t just sit back and say, “I’ll go there next week to see him.” You would drop what you’re doing and get you and your family out to Bethlehem to see him, adore him, and worship him.
Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior, our King, God incarnate, Jesus. We remember why he was born into this world, and our own need for him. We remember his purpose was to eventually die for us so that we may have life.
We remember the way he transformed our thinking, transformed our lives, and the way he continues to do so. We remember how he accepted us, despite our failures. We remember how much he loves us. And we’re eager to see him.
I’m not writing this to give you a reason to come to church on time (however, I’d prefer you do come on time). Rather, I’m giving you the reason to come to church at all – even on Christmas morning – even if it was at 5:30am. It is to meet Jesus. To worship him. To give thanks to him. To confess our sins before him and our need for him. To experience him in Holy Communion.
This Christmas, let us remember why Jesus came, and let it inspire and convict us to come together with his church to meet him and worship him.
Merry Christmas to you all!
Rev. Alex Kolath
Rev. Jaisen Thomas
May 2012 to April 2016
Rev. Roy Geevarghese
May 2011 to April 2012
Rev. M. M. John
April 2010 to Dec 2010