This time of year can be so stressful and busy. As clergy we are trying to figure out how we are going to tell the story again this year. There are extra services, extra plans, pageants and productions. It can be easy to want to have everything just perfect for those people who only come to church a few times a year….we can put pressure on ourselves thinking “If it is done just right maybe they will come more”. This time of year can put anxiety into our work trying to make it perfect.
It also happens in people’s personal lives. We can feel that we need the right desserts, the right dishes for our Christmas Dinner. Getting presents wrapped, decorations put up, houses cleaned….just thinking about all the work to ‘make Christmas happen’ can sometimes give a person a headache.
It can be easy to forget that what we celebrate and remember as ‘the first Christmas’ wasn’t perfect. There was no room, it was not clean, there was not the best food available….and it turned out that none of that mattered. We don’t have to have the perfect Christmas Eve service….because the Spirit is going to get the message out no matter what. That ‘first Christmas’ the people who needed to hear the good news heard it. The Holy Spirit moved and sang and spread the news that Jesus had been born.
The same will happen this year. If you are feeling stressed or anxious or worried about all of the pressure of the season remember that first Christmas….the stress of travel, the anxiousness of not having a place to stay the worry about giving birth in an unfamiliar space…and the Spirit moved, the angels sang, the shepherds came, the baby was warm and safe.
Having those feelings at this time of year….might be as old as this time of year itself….but so too is the Gift of God. It doesn’t matter if the Christmas meal is perfect….people will still be fed….it doesn’t matter if the sermon moves mountains….those who need to hear the message will.
May you be able to find the peace that this rebirth brings…the peace knowing that God is indeed among us and that is all that matters….we are not alone, thanks be to God.
President Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council