Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

Christmas Eve 2021

For the second year in a row we held our Christmas Eve service outside in the backyard. Because of the social distancing rule we could not fit everyone in the building. Being outside was safer for everyone. The only problem was the weather. We asked people pray that it would be dry and not windy or snow would be okay also. So the forecast was for rain and maybe snow or ice. We were right on the line of raining turning to snow. Just before the start the rain turned to snow and so for the first time in years we had a white Christmas.

We had a sheet hanging and projected from behind so the computer and projector stayed dry under the roof. The piano was in a room with open door to the backyard and the guitar was under the roof. Every family unit had a square in the grass that they could move around in and one square was the required distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) from any other square. This year we even sang 4 songs. Last year singing was not allowed. The service was only a half an hour since everyone was standing in the cold.

When the people came through the entry to go to the backyard, we had them decorate a tree on a pinboard. On the paper decorations they were to write what gave them joy or made them happy. This was to get them thinking about the theme: An Anchor for Hope and Joy. The list of things on the decorations were:

Christmas Tree 2021
The Sun

Festive Songs

Family and Friends

Cowgirl Spirit

The Creation of this world

Hot coco and cookies

Good food




Fellowship (x2)

Celebrating the service in the backyard

To be with you

To be here today

Afterwards we offered hot coffee, tea, and punch. We had a fire under the front porch and under the roof over the patio in the back. We also had jazz Christmas music and a snowy cafe scene projected on the sheet. People could get their drinks in the entry and go out in either direction. We thought everyone would stay just a few minutes but it turned out to be over an hour.