kathrynzj writes this:
Not so fast, revgals and pals!!!
Yes, I know it’s January and yes, I know some of us are still on a cool sprint after only a brief respite (if that) from Advent and Christmas BUT… before we move too far along into The Next, I wanted to give us a chance to reflect onWhat Was.
A couple of staff members and I sat down today and wrote down what worked and didn’t work during the Advent and Christmas season. There are quite a few things bearing down on us at the moment so it was a discipline to do it, but ten and a half months from now Future Me is going to LOVE that we made the effort.
And so partly to give us all a record and partly to give us all a chance to reflect on the 2010 Holiday Season now that we are out of it, I ask you this:
1) What food item was one of your favorites this year – a definite keeper?
One congregation member left a box of varieties of chocolate bark made at a local chocolatier. It was something I looked forward to at the end of ever day – I was able to savor and enjoy each piece. Pure luxury!
2) Was there a meal or party or a gathering that stands out in your mind from this most recent holiday season?
For the past few years, a few Sundays before Christmas, we gather a group of folks to go Christmas Caroling to the shut-in or older members of our congregation. It requires a fair amount of organization, but I think we’ve finally gotten it down pretty well. The gathering ends at one of our congregation member’s houses for eggnog and a light supper, dessert and more caroling. It’s always a highlight!
3) Were you involved in a jaw-dropper gift? Were you the giver or recipient or an on-looker?
I have to say, my hubby showered me with lots of love this year – beautiful earrings and an awesomely warm winter coat. It was a true treat. Since he wouldn’t give me any ideas for himself… I splurged and bought him a gift certificate for a massage. It seemed like the perfect gift for a stay-at-home dad with way too much stress… 🙂
4) Was there at least one moment where you experienced true worship?
There were a couple of new things we did at our church this year, which were particularly meaningful. We had a small, quiet gathering on the longest night of the year for a “Blue Christmas” service. It was a treasure and a respite for me and the few that gathered. The other different thing was I took some advice from an article I read in Fidelia’s Sisters and re-fashioned our lessons and carols service (which we always do the Sunday after Christmas) to be a lessons, poetry and carols. The poetry was read beautifully and inspired me out of the routine and into the Spirit of the season.
The truth is, though, that it’s very hard for me to worship while I am leading worship. So Christmas Eve often feels like more hustle and bustle and greeting and reading than true, heartfelt worship. But this year, during one of our services, we had a guest harpist. She is conservatory-trained and is the sister of one of our members. She played a piece during our offertory that transported me to another place, and for a moment, I forgot myself and where I was. It was so beautiful and powerful that I still remember the feeling I had – a moment of true and holy worship.
5) What is at least one thing you want to make sure you do next year?
Even in the midst of all of these wonderful moments, I still felt, once again, like the Advent and Christmas season are difficult. As a mom, I long for more time to celebrate and enjoy the season with my boys. As a pastor, I wish I weren’t so hurried and harried. I want desperately to just take a few days off early in December to center myself and hug my kids. And perhaps get some shopping done before Dec 23.
One thing that helped me in that this year was participating in #reverb10. It may not seem like it, since it pressured me to do “more,” but writing every day (or almost every day) helped center and ground me in what proves to be a more and more hectic time every year. I must remember to do it again…
BONUS: What is something you absolutely must remember to do differently… or not at all!
I said this last year and didn’t do it, but I’ll say it again… I must find a way to take some time in December and rest, center, pray, be. We’ll see…