Tuesday, December 29, 2009


So, I assume we all made it through Advent and Christmas, and are gearing up for the first Sunday of the new year. If your church is anything like mine, you probably had to tolerate some of the incessant tendencies to bypass Advent and "jump the gun" straight on to Christmas. Examples from my congregation include the pressure to sing Christmas songs - especially "Joy to the World" and the two best-known "angel" songs - during Advent, and, despite my strong urging, the placement of the Christ-child in the manger by the decorating committee, such that the Messiah has seemingly come beginning on Advent 1 (and yet we sing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" each week, without anyone noticing the disparity).

Still, I must say we do pretty well with the Advent readings and candle-lighting, and our Pastor preaches us through Advent well. And we do a bang-up job (in my humble opinion) with Christmas Eve, which for my third year here was effectively lessons and carols without it necessarily being named thus.

With the exception of our choir musical and children's program (held on Advent 3 and 4 respectively), which inevitably skip ahead, primarily due to available material, we did pretty well. And this year, I didn't even hear that much about song selection during Advent - perhaps my Pastor did and merely shielded me from it - which I have in the past: "Why aren't we singing Christmas songs?!?" ("We will.") "When?!?" ("Christmas Eve, and at least the two Sundays following.") [blank stare]

All that to ask, well, two things I suppose: 1) how'd it go for you in your local context?, and 2) how will you observe Epiphany (if at all)?

I ask because I gather that many of our churches are doing much better (and increasingly so) at observing Advent/Christmas, and even Lent/Holy Week/Easter/Pentecost, which is a move toward better observance of the liturgical calendar that we should celebrate.

But I also gather that holy days like Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, All Saints, and Trinity Sunday (etc) will be a much longer time coming. I'm not sure if it's just ignorance (in which case, we have some teaching to do) or actually resistance (in which case we have some teaching AND some persuading to do) that I sense. Chime in with your thoughts. Grace and peace!

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