Advent is a wonderful time of anticipation. From the beginning, we encounter many signs that something of great importance is coming to our spiritual lives. We begin to count the weeks with our Advent wreath, or even the days on an Advent calendar. Our eagerness
is rewarded in great celebrations on December 23rd, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, and then spilling over into the days of Christmas. An important part of our celebrations at Saint Benedict Parish is Christmas Unplugged.

It all started with an idea that staff member Rob McDowell had. He proposed a Christmas Eve service, not a Mass, for those people who don’t attend church on a regular basis but who feel drawn to church at Christmas. Making Rob’s idea come to life has involved great teamwork and inspired leadership, especially from Laura O’Rourke, Director of Children’s Ministry, and Judy Savoy, the Worship Arts Coordinator.

Here is Laura’s take on this beautiful celebration:

“Christmas is a time when people seek spirituality on a deeper
level. By the end of the Advent season, people are feeling the pressure of the season and looking for that peace on earth that angels sang about on that night in Bethlehem. Christmas Unplugged was created to be a place for these people to wander into.

“As beautiful and life-giving as a Christmas Mass is, it can also be overwhelming and confusing to someone who has never attended one, or who hasn’t attended one in a long time. Christmas Unplugged is meant to make stepping into a church at Christmas a little easier.

“Like Jesus, born in a stable where shepherds could enter without shame, Christmas Unplugged was created to meet people where they are: families of excited children and earnest parents looking for the real meaning of Christmas in the hustle and bustle of the season.

“Christmas Unplugged is aimed at families with children who are not regularly attending Mass at Saint Benedict Parish. It allows our Saint Benedict community to practice our invitational culture, because it is the ideal thing to invite families to at Christmas time. It is also for those in our church family to attend with invited guests, serve, and engage their children in the joy of the season.

“With Christmas carols, stories, and poems, generations will be able to participate in the joy of the season together. After a special visit from a certain ‘jolly old elf’, families will be reminded of the real meaning of Christmas with a Gospel message and will be invited into that peace on earth by worshiping the newborn King by candlelight. Members of our Saint Benedict hospitality team will be waiting for guests on their way out with apple cider and candy canes.”

All are welcome! Invite your friends and neighbours to start their Christmas celebration at this family-friendly church service on Monday, December 23rd from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

This article was originally published in the December 2019 issue of the Bene Dictus.