The pulpit was decorated with poinsettias, but instead of a miraculous birth the pastor was talking about plain old death.
On the way out, nobody wished anybody Merry Christmas.
That's because it was a funeral.
Sitting there in a hard pew, I thought about the Old Testament. Actually, I thought about a hit song from the 1960s.
Actually, I thought about the hit song from the 1960s featuring words from the book of Ecclesiastes set to music from Pete Seeger and performed by The Byrds.
Of course, I'm talking about "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season)."
"To everything (Turn, turn, turn!)," the song goes, "there is a season (Turn, turn, turn!) and a time to every purpose under Heaven."
Then the song, true to the Scriptures, lists 14 seasons. They include:
"A time to be born, a time to die."
"A time to laugh, a time to weep."
"A time to dance, a time to mourn."
"A time to gain, a time to lose."
Right now, we're smack in the holiday season. Churchgoers have been celebrating Advent ("a time to be born") for several weeks. And everybody, regardless of religious belief, is turning attention to finishing up work and making time for shopping and parties and travel and family.
It's a time to laugh and a time to dance and a time to gain.
Sure, it's also a time to give, but one reason most of us give is to gain the sense that we're making a difference in people's lives.
This is not, however, supposed to be a time to have things taken from you.
It is not supposed to be a time of dying and weeping and mourning and losing.
But the seasons like Christmas that we all share together are different from the individual seasons in our lives that know no annual calendar.
People lose their jobs, suffer broken relationships and experience the death of loved ones no matter what time of year it is.
These losses are intensified when they fall during "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
It's no secret that the holidays can be a time of incredible loneliness for those who find themselves in a season of mourning.
If you're not in such a season right now, be thankful for it and make the most of the holidays by spending every moment you can enjoying the ones you love.
But don't forget those you know who are in the middle of their own personal season of loss. They don't expect you to postpone your own holiday season for them, but a gesture of support and a word of encouragement can go a long way.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org