Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fun with the Family: Merry Christmas

The lead-up to Christmas felt especially hectic this year. I ended up making several pastoral visits in the two weeks leading up to Christmas Day. These visits were important both for me and for the people I saw, but also took big chunks out of my available time. I also found there were a bunch of little things that needed to be taken care of at the last minute ~ both Christmas related and not. I put in more than a few very long days and skipped going to the gym more than I would like to admit. Having Christmas fall on a Sunday just added to the, um, excitement.

Even so ~ and maybe because of it ~ Christmas was wonderful. The Christmas Eve services were spirit-filled and celebratory. The Christmas Day worship was, as one parishioner aptly put it, filled with love. And in the midst of it all, I got to spend some great time with Gary and the furry family members.

After the Christmas Eve services Gary set up the tripod to try to capture our yearly holiday photo. After a busy, exhausting day this about sums it up. I love the smiles on our faces. (Well, Zeke isn't smiling, but.......)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Advent Expectation

I seem to be a little out of practice for Advent. Last year I missed Advent with my congregation since I spent most of it with my Dad in the days before his death. Dad died on December 18th and I didn't return to worship with my congregation until the Sunday after Christmas. Liturgically I went from Christ the King Sunday to Epiphany. Everything in between was a blur.

Spiritually I also missed out on Advent. It was difficult to wait with anticipation for the birth of the Christ Child while I was also anticipating the death of my father. Even so, I was able to draw the connection that, even in the midst of death and despair, Christ comes. A week after my father died we celebrated the birth of the savior of the world. That is the good news. Christ comes.

So this year I am trying to be present in Advent. Even as the Christmas tree and lights and cookies remind me of hospital beds and visiting nurses and funeral directors, I know that Christ comes. In fact, Christ comes right into our living rooms whether they are filled with presents or littered with medications and oxygen machines. Christ still comes.

This is the good news.