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A VIEW FROM THE PEW: MAGIC MOMENTS

An occasional blog by Robin Turpin*

November 24, 2023


On a wintry afternoon with holiday music playing in the background, a thought came to me as I was having a magical Christmas moment. The novelist Casare Pavese noted that “we do not remember days, we remember moments,” and that is never more true than at Christmas. You can close your eyes and conjure up the memories of the peaceful silence following the first snowstorm, the smell of fresh-baked cookies, the sight of twinkling fairy lights illuminating the darkness, the heat from a cup of hot chocolate warming your hands. But my favorite Christmas moment is observing children at their first sighting of Santa for the season – their joy and anticipation is so overpowering it cannot be contained in their small bodies. It spills over onto anyone near and causes even the most frenzied and weary shopper to stop and smile. And it is through this simple and overwhelming expression of joy that we are reminded why we celebrate the birth of a baby born more than 2,000 years ago in faraway Bethlehem. Because this baby was born to spread the revolutionary but simple message that we should find joy in life and love one another.


Norman Vincent Peale observed that “Christmas waves a magical wand over this world, and behold everything is softer and more beautiful.” At St. John we do a bit of this at our Christmas Eve service. It consists mostly of singing and telling stories, and sometimes the children even arrive in pajamas so they can nap in the pew. We turn off the lights and each holds a lighted candle. And as long as anyone can remember, we have ended our service with the congregation singing Silent Night – with the first verse in German (though most of us can’t speak a word of the language). Magic Moments. A simple expression of Joy and Love. And expresses respect and appreciation to the humble German farmers who built this faith community in 1846.


We invite you to share these Magic Moments with us at 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve. We’d love to celebrate with you; in person or via zoom. Contact the church at stjohnUCCpalatine@gmail.com for more information.


*With thanks to Laurie Turpin Soderholm for editorial assistance.


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