Celebrating Christmas on the Cape
The story remains the same — the celebration of Jesus’ birth told through readings from Isaiah and Luke — but the literary license through which that story is told is always a pleasant surprise at the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church.
For the past few years, you could always count on a giraffe being part of the Christmas pageant and the unpredictable actions of the young angels often were the cause for chuckles of pride and amusement throughout the sanctuary.
But each Christmas there is always something different. And this year it was the addition of Piper the shepherd dog, who not only accompanied shepherds down the center aisle en route to a visit with Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but he stopped frequently along the way to greet members of the congregation with a wet nose and a gaze of affection. It was a new wrinkle to be remembered — and treasured.
Special music is always a key ingredient to the Christmas celebration, but this year it seemed to be even more special. Gail Parker was masterful with playing the organ throughout both services and Stephen Bither’s playing of the piano — with his unique arrangements — was warm and comforting. Camille Braun added a violin solo for the first service and was a soloist singing “O Holy Night” during the 11 o’clock worship, gracing us with her versatile talents.
But it was the first-time appearance of Tyler Rodenberger playing a piano solo, with his own approach to traditonal Christmas carols, that was one of the highlights of the evening — a true gift for all of us this Christmas Eve. Thank you, Tyler.
This year’s Holy Family was Nicole, Benjamin, Ryan and Nick Tammaro with Benjamin — not even three months old — confidently — and quietly — taking on the role of Baby Jesus. Brother Ryan, who was Baby Jesus in 2010, was a junior shepherd this time.
But in the end, no matter how much was new and different, the most poignant portion of both services was the singing of “Away in the Manger” and “Silent Night” by candlelight, followed by the appropriate final hymn, “Joy to the World.” All has to be right when a service can end that way.
Click here for more images of the Christmas Eve services: