When we sat together to plan the Christmas service for 2018, we had no idea how special this event would become. The number of church attendees at mittendrin had grown in the last year which made for few empty seats. We anticipated attendance to be even higher on Christmas.
Our Christmas service is always full of people who normally wouldn't go to church, because for many, it's still part of their family tradition. We wanted to figure out a way we could celebrate Jesus' birth but we knew we would not have space for all these people. Our idea—take a walk through the city of Potsdam that ends at the manger.
The idea was both brilliant and risky. We had no idea how all the parts would work out together, how many people would come, no control over the weather, and no plan B. Regardless, we took the risk. We did not want to only invite people and wait for the them to come; we wanted to meet Potsdam on its streets.
The evening didn't begin with a catchy video or a well-known song. In fact, the mittendrin kids were the ones welcoming everyone on this journey called, “Find Your Star,” by handing out little stars and song sheets. They were very dedicated at getting all the people together. Some even brought passersby from across the street to take part in the journey.
The excitement grew when three wise-men appeared. They guided everyone on this walk through the city, following a star that was going before the crowd.
The shepherds in the “field” (aka: the old canal of Potsdam) were busy talking about their sheep. We stopped to see them and were amused by the scene.
The shepherds decided to go see this Savior that was born that night, and the crowd moved on together through the twilight. Many families, young adults, and seniors were all walking along the city. Some kids ran ahead as everyone was excited for the next stop on the way. All of us, following the star together, that led us to encounter Jesus.
When we finally arrived at the square in the center of the city, a warm welcome was waiting for everyone. The band played Christmas songs as the crowd gathered in front of firepits near the manger, where the star had stopped: “let us adore Him, the Savior is born.”
Then Pastor Steffen spoke about this star that we all went to find, having the attention of the whole crowd. It's Jesus, the one that can light up the hearts of the people of Potsdam. What a joy to Potsdam, what a joy to the world!