We are so excited about Christmas Eve at Restoration!
(Looking for information about Advent? Read this post.)
Restoration will have 4 services on Christmas Eve (8am, 3pm, 5pm, & 9pm) 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.
4 Services? Wow! Tell me about them.
- The morning service at 8 am will be a simple service of Morning Prayer that celebrates the 4th Sunday in Advent (No childcare will be provided)
- The services at 3pm and 5pm will be identical and geared toward the attention span of a child.
- The 9pm will feel different– more contemplative, traditional, quiet, and candle-lit. Generally, the 3 later services (3pm, 5pm, & 9pm) will have the same readings and same progression of carols.
Will there be candles? Yep. A bunch of them. All around. We will sing Silent Night while holding candles. The kids will get glow sticks to hold at the 3pm and 5pm. It will be beautiful!
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 take-home goodie bags with items to help kids engage in the service. 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, kids come dressed as their 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 time of year… 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 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 in their goodie bag. The ornament – for their tree at home – is a sweet 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 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 offerings to support the work of La Trinidad Anglican Church in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which is our global outreach partner in Bolivia.
Do you need volunteers? We sure do. If you are already a Sunday volunteer log onto MSP and select something. If you have never volunteered, don’t worry. It’s easy! We would love you to help us. Contact Kathy Kenyon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she can get you squared away.
How long will the services last? The 8 am service will last about 60 minutes. 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 9pm will be closer to 90 minutes.
Anything else distinct about the 9pm? Yes! We will have incense in the procession and the Eucharist will be sung in a fashion similar to our Easter Vigil service.
Anything else I should know? We love Christmas 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 this Christmas season 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.
One service on Sunday, December 31. We will have one service on New Year’s Eve at 10 am.