I just wanted to write a quick Merry Christmas note, just because it’s Christmas. I’m spending a very short visit with family in North Dakota, where the song, “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” has so much more meaning. However, it’s beautiful in its bleakness. There’s just patches of snow, and it’s just cold enough, to remind me that it’s winter. The gifts are opened, the turkey’s in the oven, and I’ve snuck away for a few moments to enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee.
Yesterday we attended the morning service at the Presbyterian Church. They were holding a “Christmas” service later that day, but I’m glad we chose the morning service. As I’ve written at other times, I really appreciated the liturgy, though it was not as formal as I was used to in my Lutheran days, we did recite both the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed. I really appreciated the pastor’s comments reminding us that this same creed has been recited for 1700 years.
What I appreciated most was Pastor Bob’s attitude: he was genuinely glad to be there (or is the best actor I’ve seen in quite a while). I’m not used to this, to be honest. Most pastors of churches I’ve attended in the last several years have always seemed stressed, preoccupied with their sermon, or just distracted by one thing or another. Bob, however, was just full of joy, and the “Christmas Spirit” just filled that church.
His Christmas homily was also good; just a simple reminder of what Christmas was all about. I’d have to rank it as one of the best Christmas sermons I’ve heard (though to be honest, I don’t remember any others). As with the Larry Norman concert I wrote about last week, I was lifted up, just the way the New Testament talks about – you know, that “edifying” thing. This is something that I have learned not to expect from church, and why it seems such a drag so much of the time. Not that I need to be “fed” every Sunday, but I have this simplistic, idealistic belief that church should be good for us.
Perhaps my expectations are too high? I’ll have to think about this for a while.
In the mean time, have a very Merry Christmas!