‘Tis the Season to be…busy.
My original name for this comic was “Season’s Beatings,” mainly because when I served churches I always felt pretty beat up after Advent. Not that it wasn’t a joyous time of excitement and great things (it certainly was), but it was also one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year for me as a pastor. Between the Christmas Cantatas, Children’s plays, Christmas parties, Christmas Eve services, and other festive events, I often had so much on my schedule that there was little time to actually enjoy the Season. And that doesn’t even count the increase in hospital visits, counseling sessions, and funerals that almost always occur during the month of December.
Perhaps one of the best things about my current appointment is that my schedule actually opens up during Advent. The semester is nearly over and things are already starting to wind down. Sure, there’s still plenty of stuff for me to do to prepare for next semester, but there should also be room for me to rest, reflect, and relish in the joy and excitement of Advent.
Pastors, I’m not trying to brag, and honestly there is a big part of me that envies you. I miss engaging a congregation in the anticipation of Christ’s birth and leading Worship on Christmas Eve, but I also remember the stress and weariness that accompanies those acts. Know that I’m praying for you during this exciting and difficult Season.
And church folks, I’m praying for you as well. I’m praying that you don’t get so caught up in doing so much to celebrate Christmas that you miss out on the joy that you should be experiencing during this time. I’d also like to make a request: Please pray for and go out of your way to encourage and support your pastor and church staff during Advent. Most likely they’re working hard to provide you with wonderful opportunities to celebrate and experience God, but they’re doing so at a cost to themselves and their families. It is a tremendous sacrifice to spend the most joyous time of the year apart from your loved ones, even if you are serving others. They’ll probably never complain to you or bring it up, but I know it’d make a big difference if you take the time to show your pastor and church staff some extra love and appreciation.
Wherever you are and whatever you do this year- in the midst of all of the craziness, may you be blessed this Advent.