Last Saturday was the first Saturday in December. And Mother Nature gave us an early Christmas present in the form of a perfectly – perfect day. The sun was shining, and the temperatures were balmy and warm. It was one of those days that gives my summer loving soul hope that I might just survive another late fall and winter! (Every single year – I seriously wonder if the long – dark nights of winter will actually steal my soul this year . . .)
Saturday was truly lovely and glorious. Absolutely – positively glorious.
So perfect – it was easy to forget it was December and Christmas was mere weeks away.
It is incredibly dangerous for clergy to let their guard down for even a moment during the entirety of Advent. Clergy cannot – MUST NOT – forget Christmas is breathing down their necks! Letting one’s guard down only leads to forgetting something incredibly important like preparing the Christmas Eve worship booklets or organizing the church decorating or what date Christmas is on anyway . . . (I think Christmas is on the 25th this year. BUT I should probably double-check that on my calendar. I get a bit stress-y stressed during December. Some/lots/most of us pastor-types do.)
Anyway – the weather outside on Saturday was most definitely not frightful. In fact – the weather was just plain delightful!
Jason – Will – and I spent our morning outside. Actually – Will spent his entire day outside playing with his two besties. They didn’t come inside until the sun started to set Saturday evening. Such brilliant children . . . They enjoyed every moment the warm – sunny December day had to offer them.
But I couldn’t stay outside – because I had other plans for fun and joy and merry making. I too was going to hang out with some of my friends! I was off to “the Church” (as we say at our house) for the Ladies’ Christmas Tea.
Honestly – I wasn’t feeling particularly Christmas-y on Saturday – but I am almost always game for hanging out with some of my Lutheran sisters in Christ. (I am almost always game to hang out with my Lutheran brothers in Christ too. But the guys just don’t usually come to the LADIES‘ Tea.)
But then I walked into the church on Saturday afternoon and Christmas was in the air. Actually, Christmas was everywhere!
The lights were sparkling and twinkling on the Christmas tree in the fellowship hall.
Marilyn had Christmas music playing. Although I did strongly object to Frank Sinatra belting out “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” in a church fellowship hall. No one should be threatening anyone in a church or using four letter words. I expressed these thoughts and STRONG objections to Marilyn who is on the Saint Stephen Church Council and she dared to laugh in my face! Seriously – Marilyn laughed at me – smiled and did a little dance!!!
Clearly – some people around Saint Stephen have no respect for the Master’s of Divinity I spent 4 long grueling- years earning in MINNESOTA!?!?!? Perhaps I should start demanding that she call me Rev. McFarland. That sounds far more authoritarian and bossy – doesn’t it? But people called Rev. McFarland are probably very – very serious and stuffy and use far fewer exclamation points in their writing . . . And I do not aspire to that.
Anyway – other than that one very objectionable musical selection – it was a whole bunch of Christmas awesomeness at Saint Stephen on Saturday afternoon. There was Christmas colored Jello (yum!). There were Christmas cookies. There were Christmas scarves and Christmas sweaters and Christmas pins and Christmas tops. Christmas decorations and Christmas greetings.
There were Lutheran ladies filled with Christmas cheer! There was conversation. There was tons and tons of laughter. There were smiles. There was happiness and delight and joy and fun.
There was even an adorably cute Christmas craft with glue that some of us rocked like rock stars. And others – well – others – well – let’s just say that glue is not our preferred artistic medium . . . God gives us all gifts and talents – but some of us were skipped over on “glue day.” I have always done far better with tape and yarn . . . Fiber and beads are my artistic media of choice.
Saturday afternoon was such a delightful blessing. It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with my sisters in Christ celebrating the joys of the season and community and creativity.
I give our Lord thanks for my sisters in Christ – for this Christmas season – for laughter – conversation – joy and even for glue! These are the things that hold us together in this wild – weird – and sometimes wonderful world we are all living in.
Merry – almost Christmas!