The Trumps took Communion. The service largely avoided references to politics, but one message in the sermon of the Rev. James Harlan, the church rector, might have had some relevance to the president-elect, who is known to hold grudges against his perceived enemies.
“All of us have some hurts, some resentments, some fears, some ways that someone has hurt us or offended us in the past that we won’t let go of,” Harlan said. He added, “I can tell you over time those little hurts, those little slights, those little things consume us, and they will push out that space for God’s love all too easily.”
The service ended after midnight, and the Trumps returned to Mar-a-Lago, where they were expected to celebrate Christmas with family and friends at the private club.
The church, known for its spectacular stained-glass windows and elegant masonry, as well as its lush gardens, has been in service for more than 125 years and is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Florida.
In 2005, the Trumps were married at Bethesda-by-the-Sea — they held their reception at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club about three miles down the coastline — and a year later they christened their son, Barron, in the sanctuary.
The Trumps attended Christmas Eve services at the church last year during the campaign, and they returned for Easter services there in March.
The church has been frequented over the years by celebrities, socialites and professional athletes, including basketball legend Michael Jordan, who married Yvette Prieto there in 2013.