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By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletterDecember 7, 2017

I have come to love the traditions of Highland Hills during this season. Our church knows how to care for each other every day of the year, all the more so, during this season of Advent and Christmas. I am not sure that I am in the spirit of the season until I hear our youth and children sing hymns and carols after Family Night supper.

I’ve come to expect a heart-warming, smile-making, closing number designed to lift our hearts and send us out with a smile. This year my expectations were exceeded as the choirs closed the concert with “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” It wasn’t the familiarity of the song, but the presence of a near life-size purple hippopotamus that really got me. Jackson Williams disappeared from the performance, only to reappear moments later with the big beautiful beast. “Hulga,” as I have affectionately named her, seemed to dance above the choir to the beat of the song while wearing a Santa hat. I needed that bit of sacred silliness to get ready for the season.

I need moments like the Live Nativity. Every year we gather in the amphitheater to hear the story of the Christ-child. Our very own church members accept roles and wear costumes. They become a new way of seeing shepherds or wisemen or angels. Each year, I am moved by the heart of our congregation in moments like this. This year we will see and hear the story of Christmas in a new context. I hope you will join me at the Live Nativity to remember the story of Christmas through the lives of people who’ve spent some time at the Hobo Hotel.

Next Wednesday we will gather for the Family Night Christmas party. Our Great room will be annexed by Whoville. I hope our greeters know to welcome all, even the Grinch, with care. All of our members are invited to dress appropriately, as a “who” or a “grinch.”

In this season the sacred, the silly, and the solemn combine. All of this leads us to worship on Christmas Eve… I can’t wait to light a candle and mark the end of Advent and the beginning of Christmas with you.