What do you do with the second Sunday after Christmas?
Do you get a jump start on Epiphany,
or sing all the Christmas carols that somehow haven’t been sung yet this season?
Is this the Sunday for a much-needed vacation, or the Sunday to start a new preaching series for 2021?
Does your congregation observe its own New Year traditions,
or is this the perfect time to introduce something that might become a well-loved tradition in years to come?

And what do you do with all the leftovers?

My husband and I used to host a party for all our performing arts friends between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The table was filled with everyone’s leftover holiday food, and the entertainment included musicians and actors and dancers performing for each other. These performances could also be thought of as ‘leftovers’ – art that was set aside during December, while the artists were engaged in Messiah and Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol performances. It was a lot of fun, and a great way to get rid of those last bits of gingerbread and fruitcake, or turkey and stuffing. It was also a great way to remind one another of the joy we found in making art, after a season of intense work.

On this second Sunday of Christmas, what leftovers need to be used up, to make room for Epiphany? How is the old year’s darkness being swept away to reveal the Light coming into the world? Where are you finding joy in this season?

If you follow the Revised Common Lectionary, Diane Strickland offers some great insights here, and if you are joining twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple with the Narrative Lectionary, Jean Kirkwood has more food for thought here. If you need help with liturgy for this second Sunday of Christmas (or Epiphany) you can find inspiration here.

Leave a comment to let us know how we can encourage you, or to offer ideas to others. Let’s help one another start the year well, and may the God of grace transform all our leftovers into a feast!

Photo by Jo Anne Taylor, used with permission

Rev. Jo Anne Taylor is an Evangelical Covenant Church pastor serving in the United Methodist Church. She blogs at pastorsings.com and she likes to sing (just not in close proximity to others at this time).


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8 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Christmas Leftovers Edition

  1. I used to heavily borrow from another source a sermon that, in conjunction with the choir (when I HAD one,I worked the small rural family churches “circuit”) some of the history of Christmas Hymns. I also did “The Innkeeper’s Wife”- the older one where she’s very negative until the end, not the one that’s available these days

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    1. It’s good to have those things that work in the back pocket for weeks like this! There’s also the Wesley Covenant Renewal service for Wesleyan/Methodist churches – a great service for the New Year.

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  2. the first Sunday after Christmas I would usually have lessons and Carols, but this year we did not have a service. The second Sunday I would usually use the Matthew reading of the travellers from the east, this year, we are reading the rest of Luke 2 – NL readings for 2 Sundays – circumcision, naming, Simeon and Anna, and the young Jesus who stays behind in the temple in Jerusalem. Current restrictions for us is no congregational singing, so no carols for us. I am thinking of a service with lots of carols when we are allowed to sing.
    I am near Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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  3. One clergy friend suggested that, since we have been in an extended season of Lent since March, when we finally get to sing together again we should lump Easter and Christmas all together and sing all the songs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We are doing Epiphany and Matthew 2 and I am talking about getting off course – Jerusalem and Bethlehem are only 5 miles apart, but they are different worlds.

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