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Saturday, December 06, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Road Construction Edition

Time flies! We are already approaching the 2nd Sunday in Advent, and I don't feel like I am any where near prepared for Christmas. All the valleys have not been lifted up; all the mountains have not been made low; there are many roads still under construction in my neighborhood, and in my life, as well.

So here I am, setting the Advent Table, lighting the candles, and listening to John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the Lord!" Or, if you like, you can listen to the prophet Isaiah, crying out, "In the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord." It's subtle, but there is a difference. I am contemplating the difference.

So, which road are you traveling down this advent weekend? Which roads are under construction and which ones are completed? And, oh, tell us a little about any special traditions your church has for Advent. I'd love to hear them!

I have fair trade coffee (Toffee Caramel today) and Good Earth tea today. I also have some cinnamon scones and blueberry muffins. What do you have? Because it's nearing Christmas, I have some of my mom's lefse and kringla. And would anyone light some eggnog? No calories! I promise.

Hope you will stop by sometime. If we all work together, we'll get those mountains bulldozed, and we'll lift up those valleys, too.


  1. whooo not preaching this week- I'm off to watch my son in Othello- he is Othello!!!

    Have a great day preachers, I'll be thinking of you....

  2. I'm off lectionary this season, so am contemplating Joseph and the promises that were made to him. And how they are promises to us...don't be afraid; God will be with you in this baby; the baby will bring salvation from sins. It needs to be short, since the lighting of the Advent wreath (there's a tradition) and communion will take up some time. They're pretty forgiving when we (almost always) run over an hour.

    My favorite tradition of this church: we are "adopting" families at the local family shelter for single moms who are learning to deal with mental illness. Our little group of 40 or so people has adopted 17 families and are buying Christmas gifts for them. We'll share in their Christmas party in a couple weeks. I'm pretty impressed, myself.

    I'm heading out in a while to our town's Christmas craft market, then will be back home trying to work on this sermon. Distractions abound.

    Happy sermonizing, preaching friends!

  3. Good morning!
    Incomplete roads for me include:
    1) my sound tech friend *may* be coming to record the sermon tomorrow to get me a better quality recording (yes, that makes 3 out of the last 4 sermons prepared under the threat, I mean chance, of recording--no pressure)
    2) a Search Committee *might* send spies this week or next week or Jan. 4th, but no confirmation thus far
    3) and, oh, my sermon, also still under construction.
    And it's the church fair today. I'm not sure how many hours they expect me to be around. It runs from 10-2.
    But first, oatmeal, and I'm happy to share. I won't let the dog lick your dish, at least not until you're through!

  4. Advent activities abound for us!

    I'm not preaching tomorrow--we're doing a "Blue Christmas" service with our host church--but I want to get a good start on next week's sermon, since I'll be busy with other things this week.

    I'm also hoping to get some decorating and baking done today--there should be sugar cookies for all later on.

    And my appetite is back, so I would love some Butter Toffee coffee and kringla!

  5. RP, so glad to hear your appetite is perking up, what good news!

  6. Short and sweet? It's hard to say. Either it's done or it needs some real fleshing out.

    The Prophet's Comfort

    I brought some bread pudding. Yes, I suggest bread pudding for breakfast.

  7. Songbird... hope the search goes well... whenever it may be. You talking about the oatmeal bowl... made me remember my daddy always feeding the dog his last bite of food from his fork. One time... just once... he forgot that he had "fed" the dog... and grabbed one more bite from a bowl on the table. Poor dog never got anything to eat from him again... and I do believe daddy was traumatized for a LONG time!

    I have coffee to offer... I guess I need to go to the grocery store. Yuck!

  8. Hi All

    I am a daily "lurker" who loves this blog and has learned to love all of you who share so freely!

    I am using the Isaiah passage and the passage from Mark. Something is stirring! There is something coming we need to keep our eyes and ears and hearts open to. There is a shepherd who is coming to gather us in his arms like lambs, to gather us in his arms close to his heart.

    And the shepherd is also the one who will baptize us in the Holy Spirit. Something is coming, someone is coming- who will hold us close when we need to be held and give us strength through the Holy Spirit when we need to be strong!

    I have a graveside service in 3 hours and I just looked out to see it is snowing!

    I have a fresh pot of coffee on, some biscotti in the cabinet and some sweet Clementines to share.

    I will probably make some hot chocolate when I get back from the service. I'll be happy to share then also!


  9. Hi! I'm back. Good to see such a start this morning.

    Sally -- what a great role for your son! Tell us about it when you get back!

    Esperanza -- I like your church's tradition of adopting families. wow

    Songbird -- it sounds like you are under construction, too :)

    I'm having oatmeal at the Breakfast Bible study this morning (I think).

    RP -- "Blue Christmas" -- is that the Christmas service for those who are grieving? Tell me more about it.

    Tripp -- I like your title.

    Mine's "preparing in the wilderness"... we have these four "P" words that we have to use this year Plead/Prepare/Proclaim/Participate

    But my recurring phrase is "How can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?"

    How about another cup of coffee?

  10. Beach Song -- thanks for the oatmeal story -- I think.

    And Sandi -- Welcome! glad to have you with us today. I love what you have shared.

  11. our "Blue Christmas Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance" is for anyone who lives with sadness at this time of year--the first Christmas (or twentieth) without someone, unemployment, illness (of the body, mind or spirit, as we say), dealing with SAD, with family issues...whatever grief or sorrow grips people. The emphasis is so much on joy this time of year that people who aren't feeling joyful feel guilty or left out.

    We try to acknowledge that grief, sit with it, and then allow them a way to let it go. The service is mostly prayers, some music, a litany of release, then lighting candles and floating them in a large bowl (like letting them float away). It's not a terribly long serice, but it can be very cathartic.

    Others may have done it other ways...that's just what we do here in River City.

  12. I am procrastinating the sermon today by taking Blue Eyes shopping for a new winter coat. His old one is molting. Literally. Feathers everywhere!

    My deal with him is that I will only tackle malls at Christmastime on Saturday if we get there first thing in the morning, as soon as they open.

    It's as good a reason as any to put off a sermon I feel perfectly "meh" about.

  13. I'll be back in a bit for the preaching. But for those who like there theological reflection from the comics page check this out

  14. RP, what sort of candles do you use? I've been wondering how to do mine and like the idea of floating them.

  15. I seem to have most everything except a early effort for me as I need to get dressed and out of here and get to the church fair a.s.a.p.
    I'll be back later to commiserate!

  16. SB, we use the tealight kind--there is a bit of a trick to putting them in the water to float, but we just make sure have plenty in case of sinkers.

    If there's a larger something to float them in (fountain, baptismal font, pool, warm climate so a river or lake is possible), paper cups cut down work well.

  17. once again, interim is preaching. I managed to get her to concede the children's sermons for all of Advent to me, as well as the communion prayers this week (that's a big deal!). We are doing Mark 1 of course...and Isaiah 40 is in a litany but I don't know if she'll be reflecting on that as well.

    This weekend our sanctuary will be nearly finished with Advent decorations. Last week we had purple "flags" (banners?) that hang down the side aisles, between the windows, perpendicular to the addition to the usual big purple banner up front. This week (after today's wedding, which I should probably be getting ready for...) we will add a huge circular cascade of white lights, in the place where the pulpit usually goes. On Christmas Eve, a manger will appear in the center of the circle of light. I'm really excited--I hope it's going to be very dramatic. This came from the same team that brought us the dove-mobile for Pentecost! I'll try to post photos tomorrow...

    In the meantime, I have lots of tea and McVities digestives (OMG yum), imported via Amazon--my Christmas gift to me. I'm happy to share!

  18. Need to do three essays and make MAJOR headway on a project I have to mail in on Tuesday. The problem is,
    I tried to write too late last night and everything is pretty much tossed for a re-do. That's discouraging...

    I DO need to make some headway on my sermon for the 28th (when you are only asked to preach twice a year, it's like learning how to do it all over again.) Pray for a clear vision of the sermon's thesis and structure. I'd love an outline by Tuesday's meeting with sr. staff. Oh - and it can not be a "devotional" sermon (their words) but needs to be "practical"... on "HOPE".

    Reedy Girl made brownies - mint with M&Ms in them. Yum. Please eat some so that I don't eat them ALLL!!!

    Preach on, preachers!!!


  19. Did I miss a memo? I wasn't aware "devotional" and "practical" were exclusive categories.

    My theme this week is "Prophetic peace be yours" and since we have a baptism I am trying to work along the lines of peace for our children.

    Peace and prophets. PEace and JtB. It seems to be a tougher connection than I expected. Using Luke so we actually her John ranting about broods of vipers and axes and winnowing forks. Where is the peace?

    I think we need to look long term. ANd ask both what scripture/faith means by peace and what the task of the prophet was...

  20. Gord, thanks for the link to the comic, it may end up being my lead in, into the sermon.

    Deb, I'll take some of those brownies. I've got peanut butter chocolate chip cookies to add to the treats too. Because when it's a virtual feast goodies are okay in the morning :)

    Teri, your worship committee is doing some great things. Can't wait for the pictures!

    AS for traditions around here, it's colonial christmas weekend. Made an appearance at the art show last night. The church is hosting craft/bake sale today, as well as a hot luncheon. Will need to head over shortly.

    And then will be back to consider preparing the way. As i get into the swing of weekly preaching, i'm grateful for all of you each saturday.

  21. Lots of good stuff here! I came back from the Bible study breakfast this morning to find the front door standing open. And it's COLD (maybe 15 degrees and windy). I'm going to take the dog out for a little walk, and then try to get my 2/3s done sermon DONE.

    It shouldn't be this hard.

    Or should it?

  22. I had to finish up my sermon yesterday because the annual Christmas tea is today and I need to make an appearance.

    With apologies to all who love them: I despise church teas. I force a smile, stay for an hour and leave.

    It just bothers me that (mostly) the same people doing all the hard work to make the tea happen are also buying the baking and craft table stuff. It's such a make-work project!!

    I digress...

    I went with Isaiah and JtB on the theme of comfort. God wants comfort (in a spiritual sense, not in a shoe-you-can-wear-all-day sense) for us, and we seem to have a seeking out of comfort in our human hard drive. We all want to be warm, loved, and comforted from birth to death.

    Both texts tell us to hang on, because someone is coming who will make that deep inner comfort something we can hold on to eternally.

    To close I used the quote from "Awaken" where at the end of "The Last Battle" the great lion Aslan says to the children "Further up and further in" - this year, Advent feels that way. It is (for some at least) an uphill journey toward the cradle that requires a deeper journey inward to prepare for it.

  23. RP - your Blue Christmas service sounds lovely. I'm glad you're feeling a bit better too.

  24. Sue -- I love what you are saying in your sermon about Comfort. We don't have church teas, but I hear what you are saying about "make-work."

    RB -- I'm glad you are feeling better, too.

    I'm procrastinating on the last 1/3. I like my idea, but am not sure how to close it off.

  25. Good morning preachers!
    RP: we're also doing a "saddest night" christmas was going to confuse people in my community who take part in blue santa. I'd love to know what resources you worked with. I have a basic outline but the "litany of relsease" you mentioned sounds great.

    I've just moved into a new house (last night was our first spent here) and the cats are a lot more entertaining than sermon-writing.

    I'm just not feeling it today. like hte cloud, or fog, or non-colored rainbow in the jimmy dean b-fast sandwich commercials. wish there were some cosmic sandwich I could eat that would give me that sermon instantly.

    I'd much prefer to prepare my house for christmas than prepare my heart. hope yall are doing better.

  26. Happy housewarming Nutella!!

    We have been in our new place for about six weeks. It's a huge adjustment, but a good one. I know what you mean though - there are so many more distractions when you start thinking about the sermon and suddenly you're thinking "Hey, I could put that shelf over there!"

  27. I am not preaching tomorrow because we are having a music service. That gives me time to put up our tree and go ring in a handbell thing this afternoon!

    We did a "blue" Christmas service last year only we called it a healing service. It was beautiful, and we are planning to offer it again next week. I'd be glad to share last year's bulletin with anyone who might find it helpful. We had some good litanies, and I imagine we will do most of them again this year.

  28. if you light eggnog doesn't the alcohol catch fire ... whoosh!!!

    Sue I hear you about church teas - but one thing that I've been thinking recently is that there are still those who like or love to bake -and maybe it's time to pass on some of those skills ... I'd love to see Christian mentoring done in the kitchen wouldn't you

    these skills are being lost (as are many parenting things)... in the credit crunch it's maybe timeto head back that way ???

    but I digress

    hope the preaching goes well everyone.

  29. I would like to see the egg nog on fire this year....

    we drink it without rum...

  30. Nutella and wnyone else--I'd be glad to send you what we're using; there are also resources at under Christmas Resources.

    STF, I've been thinking about the baking thing too, since I'm doing my Christmas baking now. I bake my cookies from scratch--I don't know quite how else to make cookies--although I'm willing to make other stuff from mixes, I just can't with cookies. But scratch baking seems to a dying art. I'm hoping to pass some of it on to my son. SOme of my best Christmas memories are of the two of us cutting out and decorating the cookies--he did it until he was fifteen or so, too! Time spent together, creating, time to talk about anything and nothing. Definitely a ministry to be revived!

  31. ok, I'm "done." I'm debating whether to post this for comments or not. I have mixed feelings about it.

    I think I'll have to do a little tweaking, even now I am thinking about what I want to bring up a little differently.

  32. Dear darling friends...John the Baptist for an all age talk????
    ANY thoughts at all - I'm as blank as blank can be...and I'm just home from an all day trip to Cambridge to see Hugger Steward sing & flute in college chapel and eat lunch with assorted fellows (AND the Lady Margaret Prof of Divinity...I feel as if I ought to buy tickets to talk to myself now ;-) ) late and tired that I'm missing one of my lovely ex youth group's 18th party....and I MUST find something to say. Aaargh...
    Sorry.Self absorbed panicky rant..I do have some apricot tart and a large pot of Earl Grey to hand. Please help yourselves xx

  33. Gord, believe me, I am with you. The problem is that the sermon model that is used is geared more towards Andy Stanley (which has its pluses and minuses). I apparently preach with an ear and a heart towards the "devotional" so I am working on a balance and a clear expression of practical with a heart for building devotion. If THAT makes sense!!

    Two essays done. One more (very long one) on pastoral care and the postmodern church. :P I can't just say "they need it, think they know it all and yet want the answers spoon fed."


  34. *banging head against wall*
    hoping sermon will pop out if enough force is used. I'm with you Kathryn, blank slate, blank page, blank brain. And I said I'd be done at 2pm...17 minutes to go. and no idea what I'm even trying to say. double ARGH

  35. ....because it feels so good when you stop....

    hope the sermon comes out.

  36. I like the idea of eggnog that one can light. That sounds about the right percentage of potable alcohol, to me.

    I will get on the sermon just as soon as I figure out how to get some HEAT in the building. New furnaces, faugh.

  37. well, I tried to post this morning but there was some kind of glitch. So I went shopping instead to replace the winter nightgown the dogs ate the buttons off and the sweat pants I bought 8 years ago.
    So I'm thinking about Isaiah and the juxtaposition of God saying comfort my people and then telling Isaiah to cry out that all humanity is like grass. We're all going to die is not comforting! But the end of the passage is exceedingly comforting. I'm thinking I'll say something about getting stuck at the point of we're all going to die someday and forgetting to believe to the end of the prophecy.
    Anyway, I made candy all week so there's two kinds of bonbons, peanut/toffee clusters, fudge and cappucino balls (although they aren't very cappucino-y). Help yourselves as I am sure there's enough for the four people I want to take it to and the kids I need to send some to.
    And now back to football. My nephew's team already accepted a bowl bid so he won't be home for Christmas. But I'm sure God will gather him in wherever he is that day - he thinks the coach is going to call a practice!

  38. Well, I am back from a shopping adventure that included lunch out with Blue Eyes, a rare treat.

    It also inlcuded an early Christmas prezzie, which you can see if you go here.

    Needless to say, my sermon is in trouble and procrastination tools abound!

  39. I'm off to practice for tonight. then, I think I might post the draft....

    for your consideration.

  40. Essays DONE - whoo hoooooooo!!

    I just mulled some cider, so please help yourself. Back to the books...


  41. Deb, I don't understand a word of that "devotional" vs. "practical" stuff. Are they just saying, "Preach more like us dudes?"

  42. well, after a long day of errands and more errands and. more. errands. I am home and hope to walk the dogs soon. I am not preaching tomorrow. But we have a full day of festivities planned for tomorrow - a prayer vigil for Pearl Harbor Day, because apparently Pearl Harbor is sacred...followed by an Evensong...followed by a Holiday Festival including wine tasting, Fair Trade Merchandise for sale, and Heifer Project gift cards, also for is our Help the Global Economy while also Christmas Shopping and having some fun event...which sorely needs a good name...that's what I've been up too.

    hope all the sermon prep work is feeling fruitful! Blessings, all!

  43. Songbird,
    I suspect that yes, they want me to preach more 'concretely'. I'm not really given to esoteric stuff (i.e. wandering in to Greek and Hebrew word roots). They want "practical" steps for people to consider in response to "having hope".

    Yes. I'm stuck. I think in word "pictures" not "nuts and bolts"...

    whose word verification is "nozpikkr" :)

  44. I confess that I don't get the difference between "practical" and "devotional" either. And Andy Crouch is just a name I have heard of.

    Does practical mean: "tell us what to do?"

  45. Deb -- after reading what you wrote, I think they DO mean "preach like us dudes", at least a little.

  46. You are helping me understand a little more where the conflict is... perspective doesn't solve things but at least I can think about approaches.

    Oh - it's Andy Stanley (as in - "Communicating for Change" - the one point model...) and yes, they want specifics.

    Mulling, just mulling at this point. Time to work on a project due Tuesday first...


  47. My morning graveside service went well. The cemetery was out in the middle of nowhere, and it snowed like crazy, but it wasn't too windy and the funeral home did a good job with the tent. The family seemed pleased with the service.

    Came home and watched play practice for the Sunday school play being given tomorrow night at one of my churches. It was hard to tell who was more miserable, the kids or the adults leading the kids. It's terribly difficult to work on a play with a small group of kids from age 4 to age 12, ask them to learn songs to sing and do it all in only 3 or 4 practices. I'm new here so didn't step in, but it seemed too much strain on all of them. Hopefully I am wrong and tomorrow night will be fun.

    Took a nap- new puppy had me up at 4:30 am and couldn't go back to sleep.

    Now back to the sermon...

    I have homemade black bean chili if any one wants it and I'll make a pot of Earl Grey tea (green tea- how can Earl Grey be green?)

    Oh and some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. (not homemade)


  48. Practical response to having hope...I'm struggling with what they're getting at. 3 Habits of Highly Hopeful People?
    So the idea is to take a topic and launch into it. Do they assign you a text, or can you pick whatever you want? I always start with a text, so maybe that could help.

  49. Who cares about sermons when you can have a piece of Fancy Cake?

  50. okay, here is my draft

    also deb, re: practical responses to having hope: living like it's true? 1. taking risks. 2. acting your values, 2. working for what god says the world should be like? Barbara Kingsolver called it "living inside your hope."

    still... I don't know if that is practical enough...

  51. oh, and yes, I do want feedback.

  52. Like Methodist Mama, I had a funeral and graveside service this morning...then lunch with the family...then some bulletin work for new members tomorrow...and now I guess it's time to actually sit down and work on the sermon and the candlelighting reflection.

    I am supposed to work with the visual aid of an inflatable globe (as in, God has come to the earth this week--it's progressing deeper each week). I also have to retroactively work in last week's visual aid: a telescope.

    There was a comment on Tuesday that really struck me...about how people this year are desperately searching for a way forward. What is the way? Where will tomorrow take us? Where will we find comfort? That's what I'm pondering (apart from inflatable globes).

    Ooh, I also have to make gumbo for tomorrow's potluck. I won't tell if any of us want to "test" it!

  53. Diane
    Those are good leading questions! I can work with that.
    I can pick my texts, as long as I focus on HOPE I'm good.

    I'm trying to keep the Christmas narrative in there too - Simeon and Anna, maybe? along with the other Advent "hoping" texts? ANd yes, that CHristmas carol (O little town) is still stuck in my head!)


  54. Oh...

    one more thought...

    Because our church nearly always preaches topically, rarely with a text assigned, it's always a challenge for me. I'm used to 'the other way' (i.e. lectionary, etc) so this is stretching me. ANd that's not all bad.


  55. Well, I'm on my way to a friend's 50th birthday party.

    I am the WORST Saturday evening guest any host could have. I am distracted because my head is already in Sunday worship, I can't eat half of what is prepared because of food sensitivities, and I'm the first to leave.

    Life of the party! However, I do clean up pretty good, if I do say so myself...

  56. Songbird,I thought you were my friend. Here I was all ready to hit "print" and go to bed, and I saw you had posted...and there is that mouthwatering photo of apocalypse cake and now I don't want to go to bed at all, I want cake. Now!

    However, it being half past eleven here I'm on my way...a pretty feeble effort completed, but with the tactical distribution of various obstacles in the route of the procession it might just work. And if no children come at all, then I'll use the reflection from Monday's Quiet Day. Thanks be to God!
    Write/sleep/cook happily friends, and preach with love and inspiration tomorrow.

  57. I have cocoa for all you preachers and ponderers. Both regular (homemade) and fat-free in the little packets.

    And marshmallows to go on top.


  58. Mary Beth -- I'm off to the hospital now (I know it's late, but it's the only time I have had today), and will want that cocoa when I'm back!

    It's cold here! Thanks!

  59. Semfem-

    The service I did today was for a mentally challenged woman with a very low IQ who had lived most of her life with her brother as her primary caretaker. She was 56 years old. The family said one of the things about "Beth" (not her real name) that they loved was she was always "looking forward" to something. She never worried about the past, she just always looked forward. She was always excited about what was coming up, whether it was bedtime, lunch, or a visit from nieces and nephews.

    In the short graveside sermon, I took liberties and said that perhaps when she met Jesus, her words to Him were,"This is what I've been looking forward to all my life."

    Perhaps we are looking for a way forward. And the scriptures this week give us a sense that something in the future is coming that we should be looking forward to. And as Christians, we still have something to look forward to and we need to find a way to share it with others.

    Rambling thoughts...


  60. You know that moment in sermon-writing when you wonder if you even know what you are saying and why you ever agreed to this job in the first place?
    I'm there.

  61. Songbird, I know exactly! what you mean. I was there about two hours ago, after a long day of procrastination.

    But after making some dinner and eating it, I'm back at it and the Holy Spirit is helping me out. The sermon is getting there.

    Praying for some Holy Spirit inspiration for all who are preparing for tomorrow.

    And Mary Beth, I'll take a cup of that hot cocoa with marshmallows! Mmmm, warm comfort.

  62. I'm back from ringing handbells for a tree lighting...good publicity for the church, but boy, was it cold! Hope everyone is making good progress with sermons!

  63. Dear everyone, I am sorry to have to interrupt your sermonizing this evening, and even sorrier because I am supposed to be the host of this party.

    But I never got to the hospital this evening.

    On the way there, I got into a car accident.

    Even worse, it was my fault.

    Everyone seems to be all right (although my head hurts, a little), I was travelling to the hospital, when suddenly traffic in my lane was stopped. I realized I could not stop in time, and tried to change lanes.

    That was when I lost control of the car and spun around in a circle.

    It was a nightmare.

    I feel so bad, and foolish, and many other things.

    I know it could have been a lot worse.

    But right now, I feel pretty bad.

  64. Oh no, Diane! I'm glad everyone is all right, but I'm sorry about the accident.

  65. (((Diane)))

    I am so sorry about the accident. And also glad no one was hurt.

    Winter driving is the worst.

    (((Diane))) (Cause one can never have too many hugs)

  66. *hugs Diane* I'll get you some of that cocoa and a nice warm blanket to curl up in on the couch. You gave us quite a scare! We're just glad you're okay.

    Methodist Mama--wow. My funeral/graveside today was very different--elderly man who had lived far away, slightly dysfunctional family here at home--but your story of "Beth" places a whole new dimension on where my sermon might be going. May I use it in my preaching if it seems right?

    In other news, the gumbo is done and the sermon is not. I have holiday chai to share along with the cocoa.

  67. Yeah, I'm better now. Think I'll stick with this preaching thing.

  68. k-mart sucks!!!!!
    Now, it is off my chest and I feel all better!!!!!!
    Target Rules!

  69. Diane, my goodness!!! I am just reading your comment! Are you really okay? Please don't blame your dear self. (((Diane)))

  70. ((((DIANE))))))
    Sue, I would totally have you over for dinenr and cook to your needs.
    We have a lady here who does not do onions, peppers or garlic, so I know to fix soemthing up special for her.
    Anyhow, I do wish you could attend the session dinner here this week.
    Cats would lvoe it so.
    Okay, I have seriosu writing to do and little time to do it.
    John the Baptist and Peace (not love here yet) and preparing the way. Hmmm... how does one prepare for peace? can you prepare? (please don't tell me previouspost was nto peaceful. I know that, but at least I did nto charge back in Rambo style and state my case.
    Any good stories to share?
    Any cookies floatign around.

  71. Oh!!!!
    Had to share this too! My word Verf is "deadisme"
    How totlaly perfect for preachers at this time of year, huh?
    Oh, dead is me!

  72. Well I am really quite clear what I want to say about prophetic peae for our children. It is somewhat similar to (or at least ties in well with) what I said last week and what I intend to say on Dec 21.

    But it isn't really "Christmassy". I can tie it in to baptism with the question "what world will these children inherit?" but it doesn't fit people's expectations of joyfulness and Christmas. BUt that is sort of the point I guess.

  73. Diane

    So glad no one was hurt. Did you hit your head? If so, don't take chances!


    Yes, if you go that direction please feel free to use the story.

    How many more things can I think to do before I sit down and WRITE?

  74. I have sugar cookies and Pepperment Patty's Hot Cocoa to share!

    (Sorry, didn't get to the other two recipes tonight...forgot how much time the sugars take!)

  75. Thank you everyone.

    right now I'm thinking

    1. It could have been much much much worse. You'll have to trust me on this one. everyone was wearing their seat belts.
    2. There goes my no-accident record
    3. my beautiful Toyota!
    4. I am so stupid and I feel like I'm about 17 years old
    5. I still feel a little shivery. Maybe I need that cocoa.
    6. I didn't hit my head.
    7. I cried when I talked to my husband on the phone.
    8. I don't want to preach tomorrow. I just want to stay in bed with the blankets pulled over my head.
    9. my big old dog is letting me cuddle with her.
    10. I'll try to be back focussed on the party in a little while.

    thanks again for everything...

  76. Diane, glad you are ok. give yourself some self time before you jump back in.
    Meth Mama, the Beth story hits home. I'm going with an advent perspective that leaves us open to potential and possibility. tomorrow is my first sermon in this new call. I'm excited! it's a great congregation and honeymoons are great.

  77. Diane,
    I am prescribing a hot bath, some of Mary Beth's cocoa (spiked?) and a big dose of your choice of pain killers...

    and praying that you will be feeling less shaky and more at peace as you rest!!


  78. Rev Nancy,

    You may call me Sandi- or MM.
    "Meth Mama" has some unsavory connotations, especially in the area where I live! LOL!


  79. Diane, take good care.
    Good night, y'all! I hope there will be both sermons and sleep, preferably in that order!!

  80. Oh, poor Diane! I'm sorry.

    It was a loooong day for me of cookie making at church, packing little cookie bags, working on music, helping with a float (WHO of the chamber of commerce was so demented that they decided many years ago that a parade in Dec. in WI is a good thing!) and watching over the almost-two Trinity at the same time.

    I am toasted. My feet hurt. I am, however, mostly done with the sermon. Tomorrow after church we will load the numerous little bags of cookies up for transport to the high school. We will take a bus around the various churches in town (only five) to see each other's decorated church sanctuaries and read scripture and sing carols (we get We Three Kings and no one is around who can play it) and more. Then over the the high school for the town's annual "Country Christmas" which will include choirs, and other holiday merry making. Sigh.
    I'm off to bed and will finish up the sermon in the a.m.

    Blessings on your proclamation, all!

  81. I can't possibly allow myself to read everything I've missed at the party so far. I'm just now showing up at 9:20 p.m.. A quick catch-up for me:

    1. Moved lectionary around a little. I'm doing Advent 4 this week.

    2. It's my last sermon until January because of all the choir and children's programs.

    3. I returned a few hours a go from an early Christmas celebration with my in laws that consisted of 3 days, 2 nights in a hotel with all 4 in my immediate family with diarrhea and/or vomiting. Ahhh.....

    I'm feeling better, but I have no idea what I'm preaching tomorrow.

    I'll check in later after I think about it a little.

  82. OK. I had to read back a little at least.


  83. oh I'm sorry. I just can't stay up any more.

    I hope if anyone is still working they will be hospitable with one another.

    I hope i feel better in the morning.

    I'll check in then.

  84. MM, Sandi, so sorry, looking at it I see the problem. ha ha, no unsavory names for you!

  85. I had tomorrow's family service sermon all figured out, and then it changed completely! The Episcopal Presiding Bishop was at our diocesan convention this weekend; what an amazing woman! And at the end of a q&a session, someone asked what message she should take her 3rd grade Sunday school students tomorrow. The PB answered, "Ask them what they love. Then ask them how they learned about love. Then ask them what they can do to make more of it." So simple, so faithful, so...gospel!

    Peace be with all of you tomorrow as you prepare the way of the Lord.

  86. Hugs and prayers Diane! Sorry you are still shivery. Take it easy on yourself....



  87. Juniper - - PS - - what? I'm waiting on pins and needles?

    What did you forget for tomorrow that you can get at Target?

    (word verif - - cutov - - Russian for "get off the blog and write the darn sermon"?

  88. I'm still here--She Rev and Juniper, are you with me?

    I'm getting hungry, trying to resist the gumbo, and pondering the last piece of pumpkin pie. I was hoping to save it as a reward for finishing the sermon, but I'm a few pages away from that. (526 words now)

  89. 1500 words along with communion. I am callinng it a wrap.
    I had to get pinch hitters for server and for liturgist as two are down with colds.
    Anyone need some muling cider or a ginger ale?
    Did I mention that the session is coming for dinner on Tuesday night and I am still cleaning house and decorating the manse?
    Why did I think this would be a good idea? Uh, was I on drugs?
    Anyhow, nighty nite.

  90. Definitely still here, semfem. Facebook Tetris is my enemy!!!

  91. Ugh. I am stuck with about 300 more words to go at least. It's just not flowing, even though I have an outline and a plan and everything. Frustrating!

  92. The possibility that this early morning's snowfall might mean we have to cancel church doesn't help the sermon-writing process, either. Ugh.

  93. Oooohhh - - weather reports. Maybe I should check that for my way out. :)

    Well, I'd take even the 300 words you're looking for to get a start. I can hardly believe the amount of time I've wasted tonight, but I did just have a little bit of a breakthrough in digging around some old Christian Century Living Word articles (thanks textweek, CC, and Kathleen Norris). Helped me find what I think will be a way in and a way forward. This is one of those sermons where I know where I want to end up, but I'm not so sure how I want to get there.

    More later semfem, and any others who may still be here.

  94. Alrighty with less done than what would make me happy, but a desire to see my bed, I'm heading out for a couple of hours. Not too many because I think I decided to make a PowerPoint slideshow to go along with this sermon. I hate it when I do that at 12:15 a.m.!!!

    See you all in a few1

  95. I'm back. Getting something down on paper, and I still have that weekly dream that I'll be able to crawl back in bed for a little. It's probably a pipedream this week, but I'll keep it alive for a little.

  96. I slept at the dining room table for maybe 3-4 hours, and now it's time to finish up. Why does it always seem to come down to grabbing a few hours of uncomfortable sleep and then finishing?!

    I'm closer now, and pretty much just need to write a conclusion. Let's hope it goes quickly.

    Any early birds here yet?

  97. I beat you here by 2 minutes, semfem. Or at least got my post up 2 minutes earlier. I don't know how you do that sleeping at the table thing. I have to crawl in bed. Hope your finishing goes well!

  98. She Rev--it's all a matter of taking off the glasses and putting my head down on my arms, like when we got in trouble in elementary school, and catching some shuteye. I always wish I had just gone to bed and set an early alarm because I bet it would be much more restful.

    In the spirit of competition, I had already woken up, drank some water, and filled out the new member certificates we need for tomorrow...and THEN I posted. :) Even though you did technically beat me to it.

    Desperately searching for my last paragraph here! 1303 words.

  99. One more post in hopes of getting 100.

  100. I have finally arrived at the Preacher Party quite late (early?) but finished. Weird week of living advent (DEFINITELY an in-between time) that will preach NEXT year but this year must be lived.

    Diane, hope you are well - scary! Any car accident, no matter the size, is traumatic.

    Preach on friends, and may you sense the Holy Spirit at your back!

  101. Okay, I'm finished, and without a moment to spare. Whew! It doesn't end as fabulously as I wanted, but it'll do.

    May the Spirit be with those still working, and blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this morning!

  102. Prayers will smama, sounds like you're facing a challenge.

    :) Holy competition, semfem. I'm just not sure what makes a winner in this one. Probably you being done!

    I'm at about 577 words, but that's about halfway today since I'm including a little sharing time. A little less than 100 wouldn't hurt either. I better get to my point here quickly since I'm running out of room for words!

  103. I'm here. Wanted to add my prayers for all who are preaching this a.m.

    remind everyone that the Holy Spirit has our backs.

    I hadd some weird dreams last night.

  104. Diane, how do you feel, physically? You were entitled to weird dreams, poor thing!
    We're up, dogs fed, coffee brewed, anyone want a cup?

  105. Ugh. I have succumbed to husband's and daughter's cold. On a Sunday, of course. Pass some hot tea.

    And, Diane--I had weird dreams too, for whatever reason.

    Blessings to the preachers and proclaimers--that's everybody.

  106. Sermon edited ... now off to get ready for church, hopefully in record time because we got a few inches of snow last night and I'll need to do some shoveling to get out of here!

    Preach on!


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