From your Temporary Shepherd
Christmas in a Different Key
I was talking with other pastors recently about ideas for this special season, especially for our churches that are worshiping online. One person advised that we put aside our ideas of how everything was done in the past, and just start over, as if for the first time. Wow – I thought. Advent and Christmas are tradition-laden seasons, with so many rituals that are sacred to us. How on earth do we just start over?
I’ve thought about this over the past couple of weeks. and decided to translate that into a slightly different message – Christmas in a different key. When you play or sing a song in a different key, it is still the same song. It may be higher, or lower, or even a bit of a different tempo. But the song is still the same.
There are many things different about this Christmas. Smaller gatherings, no close contact or hugs, few in-person worship services, less travel and so many other adjustments are the order of the day. How do we honor this season and tell the story in a different way? How do we preserve what is holy and be open to new ideas and rituals? The story is the same – the story of God’s greatest gift to the world. That hasn’t changed and never will. But the way of telling it – the connections, the venue, the images – may be different this year.
On other pages of this newsletter, you will see news of Advent programs and worship. I will be leading an Advent study on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wed. evenings (same lesson each time.) I hope you will be able to join me for some of them. The Advent candles will be lit in a different way, with contemporary readings to accompany them.
I have also included an Advent Calendar. I sometimes make my own, but found a couple others that are really good. The full page one has good ideas and Scriptures for each day, that you may want to share with your household, or a prayer partner or phone buddy.
I didn’t fully print out the other one, a Reverse Advent Calendar. You set aside a big box and every day add one thing to it. Some suggestions are – cans of soup or vegetables, boxes of crackers or pasta, games, toys, and crayons, paper products, toiletries – one item a day during Advent. Then donate the contents to a local food pantry or mission.
I encourage you to follow one or both of these during Dec. to enrich your Advent in a personal way.
We begin Advent with a special afternoon event at church on Nov. 29. Quiet Christmas will be observed on Dec. 18, and Christmas Eve worship on Dec. 24. Different, but the same story. Together, not-together. Same song, in a different key.
I am really excited about the things we have planned, and am looking forward to spending this sacred season with you all!
Advent blessings, Pastor Jerrie