Saturday, December 23, 2006

Not Much Work for a Workday

Saturdays, as I've mentioned here before, are considered a workday for me much to the eternal chagrin and annoyance of Mrs. Jeff...who is working today.

But today, two days before Christmas and one day before the whirlwind spectacular that is Christmas Eve Falling On A Sunday, it's pretty quiet 'round here. I'm finding that this is a typical thing for this church and probably for many churches...who wants to talk to the pastor or meet with the pastor when there is so much non-church stuff to be done? I really don't know if that's only a small-to-medium-sized church phenomenon or if it happens in larger churches with larger productions. Regardless, I easily accomodate, turning to final preparations for tomorrow's services as well as some non-church stuff of my own.

I've come to treasure this end-of-year lull. At this point there are only so many more sermons to write and visits to make before logging the grand totals and then skipping town for a while. It's fitting that there's more time to meditate on how the year has gone, what sorts of things could be improved or discarded next year.

Oh, I have to share this. Have you ever had a moment where you were being completely vulnerable with someone, but had no clue how vulnerable you'd made yourself until later? That happened during our Blue Christmas service the other night for me. At one point in the service, I read this reflection that I wrote last November. There was no hiding that I'd written name was next to it in the bulletin along with a note at the end about the title and when I'd written it. As I read it, I noted people's expressions of interest in the congregation, listening intently. I even got a small laugh after the "Seasonal Affective Tourettes" line. I worried about the reaction to my using the word "sucks," but no one said anything.

After the service, a few people complimented the piece, but one comment stuck out to me: "We had no idea you were so blue last Christmas." It wasn't until that moment that I realized what I'd really done by sharing that piece. At that moment people were given an honest glimpse into what was really going on inside me a year ago. It wasn't just a story to help name what others were feeling, it was my story, Pastor Jeff's story, the guy standing before you right now whom you'll see again on Sunday. These weren't the disembodied words of someone they'll never meet...they're the words of someone they've known for two years now. It was quite a wonderful and disturbing realization.

So now this imperfect pastor goes to make ready for the culmination of Advent and to help bring this year to a close by naming what God With Us is doing and will do.