Two weeks from today will be Christmas Eve… and as is the case most everywhere I go these days the conversation starter is, ‘Are you ready for Christmas?’
Now, for most people that would call forth a response about the status of their procurement of Christmas gifts and baking… but, in the circles I travel in, this question is nine times out of ten in reference to the number and status of Christmas Eve services one has to prepare for and lead. I have four services on Christmas Eve…
And, like the person with the long list of gifts to purchase and/or baking to complete I am both excited by the task before me and daunted by it – largely because of the expectations of others. Will Sally like the pink and green hat? Will Mrs. Schmidt feel there is enough tradition in the service? Does Jimmy really like gumdrop cake? How many carols will Carl think is enough?
And so, perhaps like those who bake and purchase and make gifts… I do a little bit extra to try and make sure everyone’s expectations are met (hints to each services are in italics):
2018 Christmas Eve Services:
4PM (Sackville United Church) A Christmas Story for Little Ones
Short. Interactive. Fun.
7PM (Sackville United Church) A Family Christmas Eve Celebration
Carols. Traditional. Communion.
9PM (Upper Sackville United Church) Candlelight with Communion
Carols. Traditional. Candles.
11PM (Sackville United Church) A Christmas Vigi: A Quiet Time of Waiting
Quiet. Candles. Communion.
If you are not travelling this Christmas, I hope that you’ll take part in one or more of the Christmas Eve services. Bring your family! Invite your neighbour. Make a special effort and offer to help the senior lady the next street over get to Church… and, might you, in one or more of the gatherings on Christmas Eve find the hope, peace, joy and love that you long for at Christmas.
Today after my Performance Review with the Ministry and Personnel Committee I was at the Moncton and Sackville Hospitals. This was followed by two pastoral visits and some time responding to a request for information from the new Regional Minister in relation to my almost finished duties as Char of Pastoral Relations for Chignecto Presbytery!
Tuesday I am in the office putting some final touches on the services referenced above and beginning to come up with sermons for the three latter services. The liturgy for this Sunday is completed thankfully!
On Wednesday I’ll take part in what I believe is the final meeting of Chignecto Presbytery – a meeting of the Executive and I expect it will be a long meeting as we wrap up the final business of this court of the Church. In the afternoon I’ll be finishing up my Christmas shopping!
Thursday Morning is a gathering of active Ministry Personnel for a little Christmas celebration at Tony’s Bistro in Moncton followed by a couple of visits and more time in the office working on Christmas Eve reflections.
Friday and Saturday will be (I hope) days off and on Sunday I look forward to being with both communities as we celebrate the gift of Advent Joy! 9AM at Upper Sackville and 11AM at Sackville United. At 4PM you are invited to join with others for Christmas Spirits and Carols at Ducky’s Pub. We’ll sing for an hour or so and then, those who wish, will make their way to the Painted Pony for supper! If you’d like to join the group for supper at the Painted Pony please email email@example.com so I can give them some idea of our numbers.