Monday, December 21, 2009

Fourth Monday of Advent

In these final days before Christmas, there isn't much left to do.

There are no more Sundays left. No more Advent worship. No more Advent preaching.

Save Christmas Eve, there are no more festive activities leading up to the day. No more caroling, no more youth pageants.

There is no more shopping. Coffeewife and I divided and conquered in one fell swoop on Saturday. We didn't fret about it, and we along with both our families don't seem to be too concerned about what we get. Speaking for myself, I feel less and less caught up in it every year, and I sense the people around me feeling the same.

All that is left to do is anticipate the celebration that is coming: Christmas Eve worship, Christmas Day with family.

In the midst of these final days of anticipation, I've seen some peculiar things.

The first was an area church advertising Christmas Eve Eve worship. Not Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve Eve. It's the first and only time I've ever heard of that. I imagine that it's to free up both Christmas Eve and Day for family activities, but I really don't know. I've been driving past this church for five years and I don't think I've ever seen them offer this.

The next was the news that a close seminary friend had been passed over by a church he seemed sure he was called to. This talented, dedicated pastor is still looking for a call. It's mind-boggling to me. And this news has dramatically changed the feel of the holiday for him.

Finally, because I just do this sort of thing, I looked ahead to see what time of the week Christmas falls next year. It's no big's on a Saturday. But in 2011, Christmas is once again on a Sunday. For whatever reason, I didn't think that would happen again for quite a while. I actually had fun the last time this happened, in 2005: there were 30-40 people in worship at best, and our organist couldn't make it so a member just played all the songs on the piano. I also know that this next time I'm going to deviate from the normal order of service and have more of a carol sing, or again feature lessons and carols like on Christmas Eve. I think that an actual Christmas Sunday invites that sort of thing; even calls for it.

These various things aren't really related, other than they each affect how one observes the season. When the holiday falls, when the celebration of it falls, and what is happening in your own life or the lives of friends around that time all affect how you receive it. Other than that, I have no big insights about it...they were all just interesting things that happened this week.

I'm sorry to see Advent end, but it is because its fulfillment has come near. I hope you are able to celebrate it well.