We light 4 candles for Advent 4.

And so we come, once again, to Advent 4. We light 4 candles. Will you sing a carol or 2 or stick with Advent hymns only? Do you have a pageant or a cantata and a brief reflection? Or is it a week for a full sermom?

If you are preaching, are you with Elizabeth and Zechariah in the Narrative Lectionary? If you use the Revised Common Lectionary, are you considering Joseph and the genealogy in Matthew 1? Are you reading Isaiah and considering the implications of the Hebrew scripture promises? Are you with Paul and the Romans or some combination thereof. Or are you finishing an Advent series of some other sort?

We are here to listen, to work together, to help one another. Let us know what you are thinking. Ask questions. Offer suggestions and sustenance.

My kids have been off school all week, and my (bored) daughter made brownies I’d be happy to share. They’re a little gooey.


Wendy Lamb works as a commissioned pastor in a Presbyterian Church (USA) in Southern California and teaches college English classes at a local community college. She occasionally blogs at Bookgirl.


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26 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: The Waiting Is Ending

  1. Really grateful for the first-person story shared by one of our colleagues, because all kinds of things have been taking up time and energy: 3 bulletins to prepare before we leave for a family week on Christmas morning, problems with new heat/hot water system requiring a lot of time spent with a plumber, not feeling well due to complex sleep issues, finding I waited too late to reserve a rental car (managed to cobble a plan B together), and did someone say preparing for Christmas and travel? And I can barely see to read which means when I sat down in my reading chair to make an attempt, the cat who likes to sleep next to me in the chair wasted no time in joining me. That’s a plus!

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  2. This is Pageant Sunday – we do an unrehearsed pageant where anyone can join in. Lots of costumes and props are available in the lobby, and it is always a high point when we have a ‘live’ Baby Jesus! Since we are baptizing a 4-week-old, she gets to play the part (and her dad has agreed to be Joseph, so win-win). I’ve spent today prepping music folders for Christmas Eve musicians and visiting the sick. Tomorrow is baking and cleaning day to prepare for family coming in from out of town, so I’m grateful that there is no sermon to prepare. A former parishioner brought me a cinnamon tea ring (her specialty), so I’m happy to share it on the virtual snack table for anyone who needs a nibble!

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  3. a late start tonight following our ecumenical Lessons and Carols service.
    already after 10 pm Saturday and only a few words written. I am off lectionary, looking at Luke 1:26-56, focusing not on the Magnificat, though i love it, but on the movement from ‘How can this be?’ to ‘let it be according to your word’

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  4. Last week I had planned to preach on Mary and the Magnificat….but on Sunday morning I completely changed directions and preached on navigating one’s spiritual geography through the wilderness as a reflection on Gaudete Sunday and the pink candle…on the meaning of rejoice! So, tomorrow I will reflect on Mary, even though the Gospel is about Joseph (will somehow weave him in to it).

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  5. When I planned scripture texts earlier, I wanted to use the Isaiah texts from the RCL so I have King Ahaz and the promise of Immanuel. I am starting off with honesty that finally I am ready for Advent to begin which means I have about 36 hours to do 24 days of inner preparation…the outer preparations are almost all done.

    Thanks to Patty’s question…it helps me connect Ahaz and Advent IV. I am so not ready to go all Christmas yet.

    Our large nativity has only had animals in it for Advent. We have large open windows right beside (they look out upon the Wasatch Mountains). I plan on putting Mary and Joseph (they are about 2 ft tall.) outside away from the window but still visible. I’ll have the kids go on a hunt for Mary and Joseph in the sanctuary. There is a 50/50 chance they will find them outside…I have tried to keep a sense of the “not yet” with them.

    p.s. I love gooey brownies and the cinnamon tea ring sounds delightful.

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  6. We’re knee deep in preparations for our first Open House on Sunday afternoon at the parsonage for my spouse’s church (we moved here in July). Homemade candy of various kinds, veggies, hot chocolate bar–help yourselves.

    On spouse’s list for today: clean. On my list: finish food prep. And, oh yeah, sermon. I’m on a self-imposed Advent series on Hidden Figures. It’s the shepherds this week, who seem like they have a starring role, but I’m amazed by how many nativities only show wise men and 0-1 shepherds. I’m trying to think through our apparent discomfort with shepherds. And then trying to make that good news.

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      1. OK, Wendy, you may be the only other person on the planet who would find this interesting. I’ve been making a tally of mine (free standing and Christmas tree ornaments), and here are the results: 38 total. 19 of those are only Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. Of the other half, 8 feature both wise men and shepherds; 8 have wise men only; 3 have shepherds only. (Of the 3 with shepherds only, 1 is a Willow Tree set that I intentionally did not order wise men for; one is from Peru; one is from Thailand). In addition, I have three ornaments that have kings, but no ornaments that are only shepherds. I believe our conclusion is justified, that shepherds are left out of nativity scenes. (Which is why I included them in a “Hidden Figures” series; I’m just glad that my limited statistics back me up).

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  7. This morning I pulled together something I wrote earlier in the week (https://marthaspong.com/2019/12/19/restored-by-love/) with something I wrote for the RevGals Weekly e-Reader (https://mailchi.mp/c5d583a6d76c/weekly-e-reader-no-substitute) and a few more thoughts, and I think I have a sermon! Next on my agenda: thoughts about Slaughter of the Innocents that need to go out on Monday, and pulling together a meditation for Christmas Eve at one church that will also be the message for Christmas morning at another. My head is spinning! But we have cookies to share, my kids’ favorite Molasses Ginger Snaps, and kathrynzj’s family favorite passed down from her Gram, Chocolate Chip Cornflake Meringues.

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    1. Cornflake Meringue cookies are a childhood favorite of mine and molasses ginger cookies, yum! I’m glad you were able to pull a sermon together from your earlier work. I really appreciated the story in the e-reader. It’s a beautiful Christmas story. Good luck on all the pieces coming. –Wendy

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  8. About 2/3 through a sermon on the messiness of our lives and how God finds a place in the midst of it. (Joseph’s story from Matthew’s gospel) I don’t have any snacks to share yet, but I’m hoping for cookie baking with my little ones (4 and 7) this afternoon (talk about messiness!)

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  9. I finished my craft project for Christmas Eve worship (ribbons on dowels for kids to wave). Now my spouse and I are heading to a congregation member’s open house. We don’t plan to stay long. I’ll be back for what’s evening here and late night for many of you (and well into Sunday for others). –Wendy

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    1. Huh. Identify the pieces in a nativity set? Wonder about the shepherds? Maybe ask wondering questions about who the shepherds were and what they may have been thinking/feeling? No idea really.

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