This Christmas, what are we as church leaders painting, praying, preaching, proclaiming or prophesying that will endure for another 500 years? Are we conveying the hope of the Christ child that keeps us alive despite the darkness that threatens to overwhelm us?
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This worship service is based on Puerto Rican Christmas traditions, which include joyful gatherings of friends and family, music, and a soup called asopao.
Visitors to the spontaneous Puerto Rican Christmas-season parties called parrandas often play the güiro, the instrument pictured here. Creative Commons / le Guiro
A pastor shares the traditions of her native island, where big parties with steaming bowls of delicious soup called asopao symbolize abundance, hope and resistance.
This Chrismons ornament is called "Pelican in Her Piety." It's part of a series representing the seasons of Christmas and Lent called the "Christian Year Series," designed by Frances Spencer, who created the first Chrismon tree in 1957. Photos by Jessamyn Rubio
Chrismons -- white and gold ornaments representing the story of Christ -- are part of the identity of the Lutheran congregation in Virginia where they originated six decades ago.
Mary and Joseph lost Jesus amidst the Passover crowds. They tried their best but weren’t perfect, and I don’t have to be either, writes a pastor.
In this excerpt from her book “The Weight of Mercy,” the pastor of Triune Mercy Center recalls the church’s first mid-week Christmas Eve service and the homily she delivered on her favorite Christmas subject, shepherds.
Jesse Lawton German collects the offering during services at Triune Mercy Center, an active, vibrant church that is both a place of worship and a thriving hub of ministries.
Photos by Ken Osborn
More than just a ministry to people who are homeless, Triune Mercy Center in Greenville, South Carolina, is a vibrant -- and sometimes messy -- church where rich, poor and those in between worship and serve together.
All Saints' United Methodist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, began holding a Christmas Eve service outside in 2009; the service illustrates that God isn’t above becoming a spectacle for our salvation.
Photo courtesy of All Saints' UMC
A pastor reluctantly becomes a field preacher when his congregation decides to celebrate Christmas Eve as the holy family did -- outside. But he learns to love it, both as spectacle and as sacrament.
A collection of Christmas ornaments reminds a writer and teacher that the abundant life is about more than an abundance of joy. Some ornaments carry weightier significance, leaning more toward Lent than Christmas or Epiphany.
At Church Street UMC's pageant, sleeping shepherds are about to be awakened by angels bearing good news. Photos by Wade Payne
A spur-of-the-moment event with a wide variety of participants, the annual Christmas pageant at Church Street UMC in Knoxville, Tennessee, is a celebration filled with grace, imperfection and joy.