Dec. 22: “Sorry I can’t [do what I’m scheduled to do Christmas Eve] because I have to [do this thing I’ve known about for months].”

Fire safety concerns crowd out holy awe as entire congregation holds lit candles while singing Silent Night Dirge tempo for “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”—all seven verses Realization that you have NOTHING new to say about the babe in the manger Child starts crying because she can’t get the Advent candle lit
Rush shipping on Christmas Eve candles Reminders to extended family that you have to work on Christmas (Eve) [Yes. Again.] Virus mows down the choir Awkward children’s time moment when little Timmy wants to know what virgin means “Blue.”
“Purple.”
“Blue.”
“Purple.”
Last year’s angel halos found crooked and raggedy—but no time to make new ones Fourth Sunday of Advent conflagration as month old wreath greenery catches a spark

Free Space:

Glimpses of God’s grace in the midst of it all

Not getting paid time and a half for your holiday hours Christmas cookies . . . and candy . . . and cocoa . . . and sugar crashes
Christmas Eve visitors surprised by the existence of a woman pastor “It’s the thought that counts” gift from parishoner Christmas Eve pizza (or taco or fast food) supper Subversive efforts by musicians to sneak Christmas hymns into Advent services Tacky decorations you must use because beloved parishioner donated/made them
Live farm animals for the nativity scene?! Furnace and/or copier an/or  computer breaks down Non-essential community meetings planned by liturgically unaware organizers Gentle explanation of why “Rudolph” is not an appropriate Christmas Eve solo Frantic search for substitute baby Jesus

*With thanks to my Young Clergy Women Alumnae (i.e. not so young clergy women) co-writers/commiserators: Dana Dickson, Mariclair Partee Carlsen, Alexandra Hendrickson, Iona Dickinson, Elizabeth Dilley, Kristen Aikman, Heather McCance, Mindy Bell, Rebecca Littlejohn, and Gia Hayes-Martin.

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On Christmas Eve, Joanna Harader will be enjoying a holy candle-lit moment while also praying nothing catches on fire at Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS. You can read more contemplative Advent reflections on her blog: Spacious Faith.


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