At Immanuel Lutheran Church, we planned for Christmas months in advance.
The Advent-Christmas tree was put up in the sanctuary by Frank Duchow, Mel Martin and Lee Hall. It was decorated by Carolann Swartz and Shawlene Martin.
Our Christmas Cantata, as well as the Children’s Christmas Program, happened here on Dec. 17.
Jennifer Jones, who is a member of the Moses Lake Presbyterian Church, led the Children’s Christmas Program. Susan Hickok, Martha Cox, Diane Pierce, and other volunteers, assisted. Percussionist, Tom Flores, added his talents.
Rene Penhallurick, who is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, serves as our organist/pianist. She played the flute, piccolo, recorder and piano. Her son, Mathew, also played piano.
The children had the roles of Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds, wise men, etcetera. Readers included Jori Pierce and Kenzie Cox.
Director of music Alden Olmsted combined choirs by enlisting singers from Moses Lake Seventh Day Adventist Church who, along with Big Bend Community College’s Michael Dzbenski, helped form a wonderful community orchestra. Richard Miller was our audio-visual technician.
For our traditional carols and candlelight service, Kyle, Megan, and Ian Cox were tireless workers. Melba Janke set things up for Communion. Samuel Otey and Trent Cox were acolytes. Scott and Janet Staples were also of great help.
Colett Sperline (and Staples printing services) did our Christmas bulletins.
Jeanette Schrawyer and Gary Frazier assisted on Christmas Day.
The kitchen crew, led by Judy Burns, served food for fellowship.
Grant County PUD provided electricity.
Please forgive me for not mentioning everyone’s name. There were plenty of others but space is limited.
So, it took an army of volunteers, and not all were church members. It was truly a community effort. To everyone, I say thank you.
However, what kept things in perspective for me was a young boy who played the role of one of the shepherds. In the middle of the children’s program, he temporarily left the sanctuary while announcing: “I have to go pee.”
Once again God had entered our lives through the story of Jesus, even without a complete cast of characters. Christmas still happened.
That first Christmas, God did all of the planning, preparation, and implementation. So, we should, foremost, thank God for Christmas.
This sounds absurd at first reading, but given some thought, may speak to us of an embarrassing truth.
So, first thing for Christmas next year, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.