|I was sitting right next to this fancy-pants lectern!|
Waiting for the service to begin, I admired the music pouring down from above. Though I could not see them, a brass choir had taken up residence in the second story balcony. An organ built into the walls to half encompass the sanctuary accompanied them. They played a medley of Angles We Have Heard on High, Joy to the World, and other songs I could not quite place. Soon, a group of altar boys (Is there a term for that?) appeared and waved incense all about. To be quite frank, I held my breath as they passed. Incense and perfumes tend to make my head swim.
Then, whatever signal meant the congregation should rise occurred and I followed suit. The first song began, belted by the organ. I sang along, thankful for the notes printed there to help me with the completely unfamiliar melodies. It continued in this fashion until the time came for a brief sermon.
I am embarrassed to say that I found the sermon incredibly difficult to follow. Behind the altar as I was, I could not watch the priest's mouth, which almost always assists comprehension for me. Moreover, the echoes in the hall made me lose the endings of most of his words. I do believe though that the message had to do with Jesus being born. Pretty sure.
Nevertheless, the service ended the same way it always does at home: with Stille Nacht. That is my favorite Christmas song. Getting to sing it in its original language and in the country that it came from was glorious. At 2 am, I made it home and fell asleep still half humming it to myself.
Merry Christmas, and Frohe Weihnachten.