Second Monday of Advent

I figured that I'd have babies on the brain today, and I certainly do. Early this morning we were given conclusive evidence that we are having a boy. So now I can start stocking up on baseball outfits and toys. The trouble is that we loved our chosen girl name much more than the two or three boy names that we were just okay with, so we've gone back to the drawing board for that. We bought a book of names to leaf through, and I've found one that I think we're really starting to like...or at least I do. Our goal, particularly with our boy names, has been to find something less common, but without it being something off-the-wall.

Knowing that it'll be a boy makes this whole thing a little more real, too. Before this morning, there was just this indefinite, invisible thing growing inside Mommy that we could plan a little bit for without it having a real identity or form. This morning's visit changed all of that. It adds a level of exciting/scary that wasn't there before.

I also had a baptism yesterday morning, one of the calmest I've ever done. He just sat there in my arms, the water barely causing him to flinch. His eyes got a little wide as I walked him down the aisle, but he didn't even make a sound. This church is near the tail-end of a baby boom, so I've had quite a few during my time here. It remains one of my favorite things that I do as a pastor.

Preaching-wise, this Advent has been a much stronger year than last. Last year I was pretty daunted by the task of trying to find an original way to touch on the season's themes my third time through, and it seemed like I struggled most of the way. This year, I'd picked up a few new resources heading into the season and they've provided some fresh material. Last Sunday's sermon was entitled, "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (get it?), and yesterday I contrasted the two baptisms that John the Baptist talks about. The fact that I actually baptized someone yesterday also provided some opportunity for reflection. This coming week my focus text is the Magnificat, and I'll use McKnight's The Real Mary to reflect on how strong a woman of faith Mary really was instead of the pious passive little girl portrayed by Amy Grant. My working title: "Not a Desperate Housewife." I might think about that a little more.

This coming week will also be spent wondering whether my senior high kids would get anything out of watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, or whether they'll think it's the lamest thing ever. I figure they all at least need to see it once, but this generation doesn't know Peanuts as well as mine and those before. Oh well.

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