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Open Invitation

For a number of Christmases, I would return home to attend a midnight service and all of us former high school choir members would be invited to come back and sing with the adult choir. Many would come back to grow the choir and enjoy the tradition, even those who no longer attended a church.

There was a carol service with all the familiar hymns and an order of songs during the celebration that varied little from year to year. A brass fanfare announced "O Come All Ye Faithful" to begin. "Silent Night" was the contemplative hymn after communion. We would alternate verses in German, and the lighting in the church would dim until only the nativity was visible. Finally, our organist would attempt to rouse the entire town with his playing of "Joy to World."

I loved how one service captured so many emotions of Christmas. And I loved that I could always come home and have a songbook waiting. The message of Christmas is also an opportunity for our homecoming. God gifts us with Advent to remind us that He is love.

He invites us back to Him, even if we have hesitated to accept the invitation. He rejoices at our repentance and creates space for us with an all-familiar and all-encompassing grace.

I pray that each of us will respond to God's beckoning and find a home in Him.

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