Dec 17, 2022 | By John W. Coleman

“How do you experience the wonder of Christmas?”

The Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm and the Rev. Donald Kirschner, adorned in fun, colorful Christmas attire, each asked that question at two recent clergy meetings. They got heartwarming responses that described wonder-filled family and church traditions.

Taylor-Storm is Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to Bishop John Schol of the Eastern PA and Greater New Jersey conferences. Kirschner is the pastor of Montville UMC in Towaco, NJ.

Those moments are featured in a new Christmas worship video titled “Wonder,”  produced by the new EPA and GNJ joint communications team. The bishop’s cabinets of both conferences cosponsored the video. It is now available—as of Dec. 7—for churches to use anytime during their celebrations of Christmastide (the Christmas season extending from Christmas Eve to Epiphany).

Somehow, every year, the glory of your presence and the surprise of your grace overwhelms us, and we are moved from the mundane to the magnificent…to the beautiful and unexpected realm of wonder.

—From a prayer in the Christmas video “Wonder,” by the Rev. Evelyn Kent Clark

The Rev. Sang Won Doh, Dean of GNJ’s cabinet, opens the 48½-minute worship video with a prayer. The Rev. Evelyn Kent Clark, Dean of EPA’s cabinet, then reads from Luke 2: 8-10, which tells of singing angels who visit shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night and who fill them with wonder and the good news of Christ’s birth.

A praise band from GNJ churches, featuring the Rev. Sooah Na as soloist, performs lively renditions of popular Christmas carols in brightly lit, decorated surroundings. Other musicians are the Rev. Javier Barroso on guitar, Jong Min Ahn on drums and Youngkwang Jun, keyboardist and director.

The video is also available in Spanish and Korean languages. Barroso, pastor of Manasquan UMC in GNJ, sings in Spanish and joins the Rev. Lisa DePaz, pastor of Haws Avenue UMC in Norristown—and EPA’s Latino Ministries coordinator—in providing liturgy and prayers in the Spanish version.

And the Rev. Sang Won Doh and the Rev. Hun Ju Lee, EPA’s North District Superintendent, provide prayers and liturgy in the Korean version.

Bishop John Schol shares his own joyful, childhood memories of Christmas wonder in a 20-minute, fireside sermon that reflects on God’s gift of Jesus Christ to bring healing and wholeness into a beleaguered and broken world. He cites two meanings of wonder: a mysterious event or miraculous act of God, and an expression of great curiosity.

The sweater-clad bishop preaches about the importance of having “kindness, curiosity, and mystery” in our encounters with others and in life experiences where God may be sharing good news with us—perhaps through unrecognized angels.   

Finally, Bishop Schol, whose sermon is subtitled in the Spanish and Korean versions, offers a benediction that charges each of us to “continue to live the birth of Christ into the world.”

The new video can be viewed on Vimeo, accessible on both conference’s websites. And it can be downloaded for showing to church audiences.

View & download

The sermon and music are available in three languages: English, Spanish and Korean.