Now that sounds like fun! One of my favorite finds here in Massachusetts is the monthly Jazz Vespers service at Zion Lutheran in Pittsfield. I should blog about it sometime. When I can’t make it live, I love watching along on their Facebook page.
The church has lots of events I’m never around long enough to attend, but there was one that caught my eye — and bonus!!! It was while we were in the area 🙂 This was the 7th year of the Beer and Carol tradition (or maybe 8, but I think it was 7). Chris and I headed out after work to celebrate the season with others.
It’s my belief as a follower of Christ that we are here to show love to others while on the planet. Wherever and however we can. As humans, we mess this up a lot. But I find this church really tries to be a place where everyone is welcome and feels love.
The food and drinks before vespers and the carols are free for all (alcohol costs $, but there is plenty of free food and drinks without having to purchase). Even if someone simply needs to get out of the cold for a few hrs, they can come in and have a free meal.
I also love this sign that is right near the door:
Chris and I are big fans of the various types of pizza offered before jazz vespers. We had the same selection Wednesday night, too. Plus some goodies I just couldn’t resist. Chips and cheese puffs!!!!
We settled down for our munching and started talking to some very nice people at our table. One local couple shared about their work as beekeepers. They supply honey products at local farm markets, which also take place at the church as well as other places.
The place looked festive — one couldn’t help smiling while looking around at people dressed in holiday attire. Fun table trinkets such as light sticks, cow bells, jingle bells, train whistles and bubbles lined the table. Pastor Time encouraged us all to use the trinkets as the singing started. To my great delight, people really did — it contributed so much to the atmosphere. Festive!!!
Love how it says “Sing lustily and with good courage” haha.
The pamphlets that encouraged us to sing lustily included lyrics to favorite songs — religious and secular. I appreciated how Pastor Tim pointed out where they go the lyrics so all the printing was legal. Little things like that are important to me.
People were not shy, and soon calls for favorites were flying around the room.
We sang traditional songs such as Silent Night and also sang favorites such as City Sidewalks (one of my favorites) and It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.
To be honest, I know very little of Good King Wencelas, but this year I read the words carefully as I sang. The language was actually very cool. Don’t you just love the phraseology of “Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather” ? Such a better mental image than “Dudes. It was cold and windy.”
Every few songs Pastor Tim stopped to ask us some trivia. Questions ranged from “When was Miracle on 34th Street released” (that one has a surprising answer) to “How many la word do you hear in Deck the Halls?”.
At one point he said it was time for the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas. Not gonna lie, I inwardly groaned. To be real, I was kind of proud of how I avoided that song up to that point this year. Ah well. Then he gave us assignments, breaking tables into groups representing each Christmas day. Our group was Two Turtle Doves.
Everyone got really into it and did hand or body movements to express the key figure of their day, and the Five Golden Rings table really rocked it. They were loud and full of extreme enthusiasm in a very infectious way. It was quite boisterous.
The song was so fun, I am already looking forward to doing it again next year.
It was really fun seeing people’s silly hats and faux-fur aligned sweaters. There were even children singing along while wearing Baby Yoda Christmas hats.
Oh, and see that TIPS jar in the image above? That was one of my favorite parts of the evening. Anything we donated went to help people find jobs and housing. The funds help them get transportation to work for a few weeks until paychecks kick in. They will also help people with rent until they are on their feet again.
Jazz Vespers lasts an hour each month, so I figured this would be the same. Both Chris and I strolled out to the car and were shocked to note that it was almost two hrs later. It was so fun, time just flew!!!
Part of me wishes I got more clips of singing, especially of the Twelve Days song. But truth be told, I’m also glad I had so much fun singing and talking with people that I wasn’t really thinking about filming. Here’s the only piece I got of the evening. It’s kind of toward the beginning before people were really getting into it, but at least it’s something: