Monday, December 22, 2008

Fourth Monday of Advent

Today begins the slowest two weeks of the year for me.

I'm off Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.

In case you're wondering, I'm not complaining.

In the meantime, my Christmas Eve reflection that I thought was finished is going to get another look. I have a thing about comparing artificial Christmas trees to real trees and then commenting on the difference that the incarnation makes in terms of what encounters with a real person did for people who'd interact with Jesus. But I can't get comfortable with the tree seems weak to me.

I'm thinking of swapping out the trees for a sight seen at a Christmas Eve service years ago. At my home/former church, the tradition on Christmas Eve is for a younger family with an infant to come out during the singing of "Silent Night" as the Holy Family. On one particular year, we sang, the family came out and the infant was even laid in the manger. After we were finished singing, there was a brief moment where everyone was just quiet, watching, and the child climbed up to his knees and looked out at everyone. This illustration retains the general intent, but is a little more accessible and doesn't seem so...huh...artificial.

As for yesterday, there's something lost in reading my sermon as opposed to seeing it. You see, I'm of the philosophy that a sermon is not something that is written and's something that's prepared and experienced (I don't "write" this point I don't think I'll win any awards for submitted manuscripts to hoity toity journals). To that end, it's one thing to read my bit about "Mary Did You Know?" It's another thing to see me totally play up the melodrama that usually accompanies its performance. As such, it was one of those sermons that really connected and had people reacting.

I had one person come through the greeting line afterwards joking that I'd ruined those carols for her. At least, she said she was joking. I was really worried about that part. I've sounded off on so many aspects of church culture that maybe my people just know how to take it.

Advent is almost over. Like I said the other week, it always goes too fast for me.