Monday, December 15, 2008

Third Monday of Advent

Was yesterday the third Sunday already?  Advent goes by so quickly.  It can be a difficult season to savor sometimes due to all the obligations one may feel: parties, programs, extra services, shopping, preparing for meals, and whatever else.  This season to stop and light a few candles and reflect can end up being anything but.  

I think that I've been doing okay in that area, for what that's worth.  I'm not moving through a devotional book this year, as I usually do, but I've been able to find moments to sit, reflect, journal, enjoy, savor.

Coffeeson and I have had some really good days together lately.  It's not that we had a lot of bad days before now, but with him now crawling and even able to pull himself up on things, he's fun to chase around and lie next to on the floor and everything else.  Every once in a while he gets a hold of a low-hanging ornament on the tree, which I just have to laugh at.  His first Christmas has just been shaping up to be a good one.

Our Blue Christmas service was last night - our annual evening service acknowledging that the holidays aren't necessarily the happiest of times for all.  I always make it a point to schedule it after the lighting of the joy candle...I just find something symbolic in our being able to see that candle lit during this service where people are seeking joy.

The other notable thing about this service is that I don't preach.  Instead, I read stories that include elements of both grief and hope, the idea being that people can find points that they can tap into, rather than my attempting to name what others are feeling, which may sound like empty words.  

The past few years, I've been reading personal stories. I think that there's also something to the pastor being as vulnerable as anyone else, and when I've shared my own feelings relative to this service, it has seemed to make a big difference.  

Last night, I read an abridged version of Darren.  As a result, it may have contributed to one of the most moving Blue Christmases I've led so far.  It was quite clear to me that people were connecting, and as I expected, I needed to fight back my own emotion a little to make it through.

Now we enter the second half of the month, which becomes less and less busy on the way to Christmas and New Year's.  But if I reflected too much on that, I wouldn't have anything to share next Monday.