Friday, December 18, 2009

prepared, or not?

OK so why are you here? No, it’s not my introduction to the Carol Service, nor even trying to raise questions of our human existence…. Why read an Advent blog?

Well, if you’re like me you’re involved in Christian Ministry in some shape, or form, and this might just give an insight, provide a story, or even better – a piece of information about some aspect of the Christmas story you’ve come across before. Of course, the real advantage of this latter point is – you can then pass it on to the gathered congregation and they will be suitably impressed.

Cynical, or merely deeply suspicious of the inner workings in my own heart?

Having now spent eight Christmases as a Regional Minister – and primarily, therefore, as an attendee (Christmas for most congregations is very DIY, which is good thing imo) rather than a ‘performer’ - can I make a plea from the congregation?

I don’t judge how advent, carol, Christingle, and all the variations on the theme, services by whether I hear something new, or in a novel way. I just need to hear the story. I need to know the story. I need to see how I can play a part in the story. My hunch is many other people feel the same way.

So, if you believe Advent is partly about preparation, could I urge you to spend your time and energy primarily in preparing your heart rather than spending hours frantically surfing the web and the children’s address books with the naïve belief ‘if only I get this illustration right, I shall hook them’? How about that burden of expectation some feel on their shoulders – where’s that coming from? It may even be just like Father Christmas.

Garrison Keilor said ‘a lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm and we all go through it together.’ I don’t think we have an option when it comes to Christmas: it’s compulsory. We have, also, a responsibility to re-tell this wonderful story of which I shall never tire. Let’s remember, however, there’s no burden upon us to make it up.

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