Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Vespers 2009

And to top off our very busy weekend, Sunday evening was the annual interfellowship Vespers service. This service is always such a beautiful time of music, readings, and refocusing on the message of the Gospel -- and this year was no exception.

This was the first time in seven or eight years that I wasn't in the choir... I'm afraid being almost eight months pregnant means that my lung capacity is greatly reduced. And I'm sure there was no way I would have been able to sustain the high A in Handel's "And the glory of the Lord"... I really missed singing with the choir this year, but it also meant that for the first time in years, I was able to just sit back and soak in the music and the rest of the service. And wow, is it ever beautiful!

I love the opening call to worship solo, "Joy Has Dawned" --
Joy has dawned upon the world
Promised from creation
God's salvation now unfurled
Hope for every nation

Not with fanfares from above
Not with scenes of glory
But a humble gift of love
Jesus born of Mary

Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels
As the mighty Prince of Life
Shelters in a stable

Hands that set each star in place
Shaped the earth in darkness
Cling now to a mother's breast
Vuln'rable and helpless

Shepherds bow before the Lamb
Gazing at the glory
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story

Gold, a King is born today
Incense, God is with us
Myrrh, His death will make a way
And by His blood He'll win us
It's really something to hear Margaret Byron's beautiful and powerful voice calling us all to worship and setting the tone for the evening... What a joyful celebration of the birth of our Savior!

And, of course, not being in the choir meant that this year, I actually got to photograph the service!

Jamie rehearsing the choir before the service started

Natalie and Rachel on violin

Some of the crowd milling before the service started

Margaret singing the call to worship

Rob playing French horn -- even though he graduated 8.5 years ago,
he still comes down for the Vespers service when he can!

Andrew and Ana, two of the readers

Matt, one of the grad student readers

Steve, singing "Joseph's Song" -- this piece makes me cry every year
(and even more so this year, now that I'm pregnant!)

Blake Altman, giving the homily

Rob and Pastor Matt

I really love the Christmas Vespers service -- so steeped in tradition, so aesthetically beautiful, and so effective in refocusing my heart on the message of the Gospel.
Oh what a precious promise,
Oh what a gift of love;
The waiting now is over and
The time has finally come
For the God who made this world
To roll back the curtain
And unveil His passion for the heart of man.
Oh what a precious promise,
Lying in a manger in Bethlehem.
For the full set of Vespers photos, check out this SmugMug gallery.