Monday, December 20, 2010

Julotta Christmas Service

Julotta is a Christmas service that was brought to the United States by Swedish immigrants. Since the Covenant Church was founded by Swedish immigrants, Julotta was naturally included on the calendar of events for most Swedish Covenant congregations.
Every Christmas morning, before most people were even awake, my family and I were up, dressed, and on our way down the empty streets and across the city to the First Evangelical Covenant Church in Wichita, Kansas. It felt odd to be out so early in the morning, with the lighted streets lined by houses with windows still dark. Walking into the church, we were welcomed by dozens of candles that provided the only light in the sanctuary and the smell of coffee and breakfast wafting up the stairs from the kitchen in the basement. Before we could concentrate on food though, we gathered in the sanctuary to participate in a very special early morning service. There were Christmas carols, special music played on many different instruments over the years, (including guitar when I began playing as a teenager) and a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
After Julotta, we made our way downstairs to enjoy a breakfast that had contributions from every family present. Swedish pastries, fruit, fruit soup, little smoked sausages, bacon, egg dishes, juice and coffee filled the long table close to the kitchen. Food was eaten, dishes were washed and everything was dried and put away by 8:00, just in time for us to head for home and then on to Christmas Day celebrations with extended family.

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