We are so excited about
Christmas Eve at Restoration!
For the first time in our short history, Restoration will have 3 services on December 24 to celebrate the incarnation of God in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Before I describe what to expect at each service, let me answer the most important logistical question:
Where should I park?
Restoration uses a parking garage that is located over I-66 at the corner of 15th and Quincy Streets. You can see a map of it here. This garage is HUGE! Feel free to use the entire thing. You will see signs that say ‘permit only’ but they do not apply on Christmas Eve.
Restoration will hire 2 shuttles to move people from the garage to our building. If it is a nice evening, feel free to take the 7 minute walk. Otherwise, we hope that one of the shuttles will be at the lot every five minutes.
We encourage you to arrive early.
3 Services? Wow! Tell me about them. The services at 3 and 5 will be identical and geared toward the attention span of a child. The 10pm will feel different– more contemplative, traditional, quiet, and candle-lit. Generally, the 3 services will have the same readings, same preacher, same progression of carols.
Will there be candles? Yep. A whole truckload of them. Candles on the Advent Wreath. Candles in the windows. We will sing Silent Night while holding candles. Christmas Eve=Candles=Beauty=Joy. The kids will get glow sticks to hold at the 3pm and 5pm.
Will there be childcare? Yes, at the 3pm and 5pm services there will be fully-staffed nurseries for children who are the age of 2 or younger. Kids from pre-k on up are welcome to participate in the worship service in the sanctuary. At the 3pm and 5pm, there will be worship bags with books and activity sheets. We are totally fine if kids get a little wiggly, but there is enough singing and candles and pictures and stories that they stay pretty engaged.
What should the kids wear? At the 3pm and 5pm, come dressed as your favorite character from the nativity story. During the Gospel reading, they will have the opportunity to stand when their character is mentioned. We always love having ‘a christmas pageant in the pews’ at this service… We usually have a whole gaggle of shepherds, sheep, stars, angels, wisemen, and beautiful Mary(s). An old robe does the trick. We have also had Buzz Lightyear make a cameo in the nativity.
What should the adults wear? Well if you aren’t going to come as ‘Joseph’, just come come as you are. There will be people in their holiday best, people who love a nice pair of jeans, and everything in between.
Will there be presents? Of course! All of the children will receive an ornament for their tree at home– a reminder that God loves them.
Will there be an opportunity to give? Yes! On Christmas Eve, all of our offerings are given to organizations outside of Restoration who are locally doing good and beautiful work for the sake of the vulnerable and those on the margins. Our church does not keep anything that is given at these services. This year, we will give our financial gifts to 2 organizations that provide immigration legal aid: Catholic Legal Immigration Network and Good Samaritan Advocates. Both of these organizations are partnering with our nascent and developing work to be a center for immigration legal aid.
Can I give anything else? Definitely. We also bring unwrapped baby gifts for Doorways for Women and Families: $25 Target gift cards; toilet paper; paper towels; Pull-Ups (2T-5T). The children will have an opportunity to bring them forward during the offering collection. If you are wondering what to bring, email Louise.
How long will the service last? The 3pm and 5pm will be about 75 minutes. We sing 5 or 6 carols, with parts of the Christmas story read in between, then we close with The Holy Eucharist. The 10pm will be closer to 90 minutes.
Anything else distinct about the 10pm? Yes! We will have incense in the procession and the Eucharist will be sung in a fashion similar to our Easter Vigil service. The music team will include limited orchestral instrumentation (I love clarinets…)
Anything else I should know? We love Christmas Eve and the chance to meet lots of neighbors, family members, and folks who don’t normally come to Restoration. We offer you a warm welcome on December 24 and all of the Sundays that follow. We are grateful to be a part of the Arlington Community, and we pray for it every day.