As the "pastor's wife" (what several loving farmers at one of Pam's parishes called me), I've noticed some things that are worth sharing at Christmas. Some of them seem obvious now, but if you don't have clergy in the family, maybe you've not noticed them either. So, for us, the people in the pews, some thoughts to consider:
- Christmas and Christmas Eve services are a BIG deal and require lots of work and preparation. What would you do if you were responsible for organizing a birthday party for God? What message would you share if you knew you had one service coming up where families were more likely to bring relatives who don't usually attend than any other of the year? How you do strike balance between reverence, celebration, and tradition- particularly when everyone has pre-conceived notions about what should occur?
- Christmas Worship isn't optional. How would you feel if you had a birthday party and no one came to your house? What if they told you they were partying at their own homes and sharing food and gifts with each other instead? Not cool, right. While Christ isn't as sensitive as you and I, we all know it's wrong. What message does it send to the world if we blather on about keeping "Christ in Christmas" and what-not all through Advent, and then sleep-in or skip church on the 25th. Make a memory, show up. Pretty sure that wherever you'll be Sunday, there's worship nearby. (9AM at Milford Center UMC, 11AM at Marysville if you're looking.)
- Stressed from presents? Too much Christmas music? Try adding nervousness and more preparation than the rest of us to the mix. Our presents are more or less ready to be given, and the stress at our house over secular Christmas seems a lot lower than others I talk to. However, Pam is nervous and busy about services this weekend. She'll be preaching to more people, at more times than usual. She's not unique. I guarantee you your pastor is nervous and anxious for Saturday night also. Pray for your pastors, starting now. Specifically; by name. They need strength, courage, inspiration, and peace.
- January matters. If things go well, all those visitors might be intrigued by what they see at worship this weekend. If all goes well, they might even be back. Keep praying for your pastors. Make an extra-special effort to be courteous and hospitable in the weeks after Christmas.
Let's all keep preparing for the Christian Super Bowl in 2 more days. After all, it is the biggest day of the year in most churches- more people, more pressure, more potential than all those Sundays leading up to the big one.
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”[d] which is translated, “God with us.”Matthew 1:22-23