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.”
|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||
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.
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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