intergenerational christmas eve worship (grinch style)
Do you have a family or intergenerational service at your church on Christmas Eve? We are pretty intentional at our church to involve and include children in worship on a regular basis. For us, it means that we purposefully welcome children into worship and involve them in various aspects of the service as leaders and participants. They are scripture readers, prayer leaders, and have their own space and stuff to make them feel welcome right inside the worship spaces. When done well, intergenerational worship welcomes children into the presence of God, teaches them about the beauty and traditions of worship in an invitational way, and seems so natural that most of the time it just seems like a beautiful worship service for everyone.
Same goes for Christmas Eve. So, on purpose, we don’t have a children’s service. Instead, we have aspects of intergenerational worship in all seven of our services and one service that’s particularly led by the kids, welcoming towards the little ones, and yet (at least in my opinion) not specifically for the children. While the cupcakes and birthday song for Jesus are for the kids, the message spoken in rhyme by me and the music led by our praise band is really more for the adults sprinkled with a little kid-flavor.
This is the third year I’ve delivered the Christmas Eve message in rhyme. This year people are finally starting to believe that I actually wrote the message and wasn’t reading from a book. Since the new Grinch movie came out this year, I thought I’d use the theme to inspire the service. So, the message, the birthday cake, and the music before and after the service were all Grinch themed.
While the boys and I made 200 birthday cupcakes for Jesus, I asked one of my very talented friends to make the Grinch themed cake. Her name is Charity. Her business is Sweet Charity’s Bakery and her cakes are always as beautiful as they are delicious. And though I love to bake, I was thrilled to have this important part of the service beautifully taken care of as I knew only she could.
Here are the many cupcakes and my two helpers. They were funfetti and chocolate with vanilla frosting. Seems fitting, right??
And here is my sermon. I hope you like it. The boys helped me with the line about Fortnite!
The Grinch Returns- by Rev. Monique McBride
He’s back… that green guy with the heart that’s three sizes too small
He’s back and in theaters and the stores in the mall.
He’s back…who’d have thought we’d needed another sequel
He’s back..and in my opinion, he’s Jim Carrey’s equal
Three times I’ve rhymed the message now on Christmas Eve
Same cadence, same story… GRINCH AND JESUS…of which we are told to believe
It’s a lot of pressure you know, to make an old story feel new
But, if the Minion people can do it for Grinch, then I guess I can try too.
That Grinch guy returned in the theaters so I again I thought I should preach
So, in Dr. Seuss style tonight I will teach
Tonight I thought it good to remember because, you see, I find
That Grinch feeling has again made space in our hearts and minds
Despite all our trying and our best of intentions
That Grinch found a place in our hearts in record breaking dimensions
We’re not quite sure how it happened for it happened quite slowly.
For it started quite small, when we were feeling quite lowly
It was that day in March when our team lost the game
That time we skipped lunch and the hangry feeling came
It was that Wednesday when we stepped in gum on the street
That time when our homework we forgot to complete
That day when our teacher assigned a pop quiz and we failed
That time when jury duty and traffic tickets to us were mailed
That time when we got spiketrapped in fortnite and got taken out by a newb
That day we went swimming and fell off our tube.
It was three days ago when our Amazon order got lost
Yesterday when we got sick and our Christmas cookies we tossed.
That day when we found we had a cracked I phone screen
That time when we didn’t intend to but out of our mouth… came something mean
Yes, that Grinchy feeling began to take hold
And our hearts once warm and content began to turn cold
We forgot to include God in our day to day
Forgot the beauty of worship and the feeling of peace when we pray
We got too busy to serve others, too worried and distracted to care
And all of the sudden our hearts just didn’t want to share
We didn’t do it on purpose, we just thought we could do life on our own
But, deep down inside we just felt empty and alone
So, that Grinch started taking up room in our mind
And to God’s love, hope, and joy we began feeling blind
And that’s when it happened, we became the green guy
But before you start squirming and begin to cry
Before you leave worship saying you just need to go
The good news is God’s grace and love can always again grow
For though my message starts off sad, a Christmas Eve downer
There’s hope for God’s grace is the big turn-arounder
For there’s joy in the Christmas story you know.
Joy that can grow hearts and return that bright Christmas glow
We just need to remember the story we once knew
The story of a savior born for me and for you
The story of faith in quite troubling days
The story of Jesus’s birth which has power to change even our ways
That story of Mary who when asked to be Jesus’s Mom
Said yes to God and though scared, proceeded with calm
Even though this story took place years ago in a far off distant land
There’s a lesson for us here at Christ Church… similar times are at hand
For it all sounds quite familiar to our own daily struggles
Life can also be hard and lonely for us stressed out, road weary muggles
This story of Bethlehem long ago reminds us of what we forgot
For life has a way of telling us of all things that we’re not
Though Jesus’s birth is an old story we all know
This year’s Grinch remake reminds us old stories can help shriveled hearts grow
See, How the Grinch Stole Christmas was written by Seuss in 1957
And yet the rewrites and reruns keep coming…nothing new under heaven
And the story of Jesus’s birth, well I’m pretty sure you all know it by heart
So, why come to church and keep rehearsing this part?
Something tells me the Christmas magic happens in the retelling
When we hear them again our Grinchy small hearts all the sudden start swelling
When we hear them, stories become a part of who we are
And the cold feeling of being alone in this world starts to seem far
Sometimes when we retell them we receive comfort from the past
Sometimes a new angle gives our foggy brains a blast
See this year’s Grinch seems to me instead of sneaky or greedy
Like someone with a bit of baggage, more emotionally needy
This Grinch seems a whole lot more like me or like you
Someone who at Christmas feels not green and red, but blue.
Someone who at Christmas feels alone in this life
Who doesn’t know really know love, overcome with stress and strife
And I just can’t’ help but wonder if this year we’re supposed to remember
If the message this year on 2018’s 24th of December
Is that faith, trust, and the community of church are the best gifts for us and for our kids to receive
So, this Christmas if you’re willing, take the next step. Be ready to believe
Remember that at times we all feel like the Grinch and stumble in our ways
The good news is that God loves us and never leaves us, not one of our days
Christmas is about Emmanuel God with us after all
On all our days God is working out ahead of us and listening when we call
Like that Grinch remember that kindness, love and trust can warm the coldest of hearts
And we can feel that feeling too if we just do our parts.
You’re here tonight for a reason. Something special brought you to this place.
Thought you think it’s just your Mom or Dad, it might just be God working to grow your heart’s space
God has a message of love just for you this Christmas and I pray that you hear it
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.