Strangely enough (or perhaps not so strange), I find that I often do not like to participate in Christmas Services. I'm not alone in this. For some worship team members (and perhaps others), a Christmas Service is less about worship and more about performance. In many of my experiences, caroling (which is done by almost all churches that I've been apart of) is not something loved by many worship teams. And thus, we usually start very late practicing, which leads to stressful services. Additionally, the service is way more of a "performance" and way less worshipful. As one person said, "This is the one time of year some people come to church, and rather than having a great worship service, we do Christmas carols. What's up with that?"
I went to two services this year, one at ICC (where I was on the worship team) and one at NCF - where I was a visitor.
ICC's wasn't too bad. There weren't a lot of people there when we started (so we held off for 10 minutes while Michael just played Jaime's keys for a while. That boy can play - without any training or anything... another discuss someday perhaps). In any case, we started after 10 minutes and still many people weren't there. Partly could have been due to the snow, and partly because we had to do it on the 18th and maybe people just weren't in the Christmas spirit yet. In any case, it went OK. But it didn't seem all that worshipful - but that could have just been me.
NCF's Christmas Eve Service was awesome. A couple things. 1) In my recent experience with NCF Christmas Eve Services - they aren't done by the worship team. Which might be a good thing. That way the people that are doing the songs, etc.; are very much into it. They signed up for it. They wanted to do it. 2) Its always like a family reunion. Especiaclly this year, since we haven't gone for probably 4 years or so. So saw lots of folks we hadn't seen forever, lots of little kids that are not much more grown, etc. The format was very nice. A mix of carols, worship songs, and "memories" of Christmas' past, all discussing the love, spirit, etc. of Christmas and showing God's love. Cool stuff.
Very interesting to me though, seeing it from one side or the other. I guess when I'm worshipping, I want it to be worship type music, and when I'm participating in a Christmas program then I'm cool with it being just that... a Christmas program. I've done that at NCF before - where we did special music as part of the program - and that was cool. Its all a state of mind I guess - and what is the goal, etc. Something I need to keep in mind in the future....
In any case, NCF was very cool. It was nice to see how the church has grown. And it was great to see everyone I haven't seen for so long.