All children at Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave., are invited to take part in the Christmas pageant; rehearsal begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Parents need to stay for the entire rehearsal if their children are under the age of five, and all parents should stay until their offspring are wrestled into their costumes (this often requires some assistance). Practice will end at 11:30 a.m.
Children of elementary school age are invited to stay for Christmas Camp, which will run until 4 p.m., allowing parents to have a few hours for themselves. The children, in the meantime, will be making ornaments and participating in a variety of activities. A donation of $10 per child is requested to cover the cost of lunch and materials.
All pageant participants are asked to arrive by 9 a.m. Sunday so that robes, beards, halos, ears, tails and other costume items may be put on in good time for the 9:30 a.m. performance. All parishioners are invited to attend what is "always a remarkable presentation."
Grace offers three Christmas liturgies. The Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist at 5 p.m. is a service for families with children who need to be in bed early or those whose duties as hosts call them to be home in the evening. The service offers Christmas hymns and a soloist.
At 10:30 p.m. Christmas Eve music by the Grace Choir will be a half hour cantata by Arcangelo Corelli, accompanied by strings and continuo. A must for those for whom music is an integral part of celebrating the season, and an opportunity to sit quietly in the midst of beauty in preparation for the service that follows.
At 11 p.m. the Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist is a service, rich with music and falling on the very cusp of Christmas Day, is deeply loved by those who love late hours and the sensation of lush sound and beautiful light waxing strong in the midst of darkness.
Then on Christmas Day, 10 a.m., the Holy Eucharist is a quiet, intimate service without music, perfect for those who want to be in church on Christmas Day itself to focus on the essence of Christmas without other distraction.