This past Christmas Eve, my church held its annual “Christmas by Candlelight” service. During this service, the worship is intense, elevated, as well as being a huge media and musical production. The service typically ends with all in attendance lighting candles and singing Christmas songs that are truly reflective of the birth of Jesus. Even though it is called “Christmas by Candlelight”, the service is full of the lights, sounds ,music, and joys of the season.
I serve on the media team in our church. While it is not a high visibility role (which I prefer), it is important in the fact that we are responsible for all of the powerpoint, videos, camera work, lighting, and sound that help make the worship music come alive.
We made it through the first two services without incident. The third service, which began at 7pm was ready to begin. We should have known that something was going to go down because in the previous two services, there were flickers that we originally thought was our battery backups. After checking those out, we figured we would be good going forward.
About a third of the way through the service, everything goes black in the little closet that we call the “media room”. I am in complete darkness. I get up from my position and the technical director rushes in. He props the door open with the floor fan that we keep handy in case the room gets too warm. He informs me that the we have lost power to the entire building and the generators have kicked on. The generators are only set up to give us power to the perimeters, so our production was all but lost. It turned out that the whole area had lost a power grid.
Then the power of the Lord shows itself.
The pastor continues to teach about how the Mighty God of the Universe chose to wrap himself in frail flesh and live among us as Jesus to die for for our wretchedness. He spoke on how the Lord brought it back to the basics. Just like we were forced to bring it back to the basics during the power outage.
The service continues as though nothing had happened. We lit all of the candles early and continued to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It was a beautiful thing to watch. God’s children giving Him praise much like His children of old. No technology. No electric guitars. No microphones or video equipment. Just the pastor, the piano, hundreds of worshipers and the Voice of God.
The worship continued. In earnest. Our voices rose beond the ceiling in praise. The pastor projected his voice to the ends of the auditorium. It was a reminder that the technology was not necessary to give the proper glory to God. The glory He deserves. The thanks we all should give Him for His incredible and unsurpassed sacrifice.
It was a good reminder that Jesus was not born in a hospital. Mary did not have (or need) an epidural. A reminder that the Savior of the World was not born into the comforts that we have today. Jesus was born among dirty animals and dung. He was born in a stench that would make many of us puke on the first inhale. It reminds us that His birth was unsanitary and sullen. The only comfort Mary had was an unprepared Joseph who, quite frankly, did not know who the Child belonged to (he knew it wasn’t his), despite the reassurances of an angel. Jesus’ birth was basic. And this is where we were this Christmas Eve.
Even though the power came back toward the end of the service, we didn’t need the technology.
We were back to the basics this Christmas Eve.
If you are a Christ follower, Rejoice. For He is Born. He is Risen.
If you are not, I pray that you come to know what I know. There is one King. There is one Savior. He was born more than 2000 years ago. He died for my wretchedness. He will come again.