After a relaxing afternoon shopping on Park Avenue in Winter Park and a free concert at the Morse museum, Terry and I went to a candle light service at Unity Church (4801 Clarcona Ocoee Road.) Parked in front of the church was an interesting character on a souped up bicycle with a long chopper styled front wheel assembly straight out of "Easy Rider" and a sign that said "No Trespassing." It took amazing restraint to not start sketching right there. The church's warm inviting interior beckoned and we went inside. Red Poinsettias were everywhere. Reverend Bob Marshal told everyone to unwrap a paper message which had been fastened to the base of each persons candle like a fortune cookie. Terry's fortune read, "I am aglow with the spirit of God." This theme of an inner light was repeated several times that night.
Music celebrated the joy of the occasion. A husband and wife performed a duet and there were a number of beautiful solos. I loved the performance of "O Holy Night." Something in the singers beautiful voice when she sang, "o night divine", struck me and lifted me up. It was nice standing beside Terry singing Christmas Carols. It reminded me of the times she used to go caroling on the streets of NYC with a Medieval Choral group. I loved sketching those freezing cold outings.
There was a large display of candles in front of the pulpet which congregation members would light one at a time. Once a candle was lit the igniting candle would be passed to another member of the congregation and they would light the next candle in line. Each candle represented a different apostle. I was fascinated that an apostle named Bartholomeus was considered the apostle of imagination. So many of the themes expressed celebrated creativity and a glowing sense of goodwill that can be realized when that inner light is ignited and shared. The final song of the evening was "Silent Night" and Reverend Bob suggested we all keep repeating the first verse. That way we didn't have to worry about the words, and the song would almost become a sacred chant. Everyone stood arm in arm and swayed to the gentle lyrics. From a single candle, a flame was shared and slowly the room filled with light. The reverend said,"The light that shines in each of us is the gift of Christmas." Merry Christmas and help spread the light and joy today and always.