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Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Day Preacher Party

Merry Christmas!!!!

Are you up early with little ones? We welcome you.

Are you sleeping in, gratefully? We'll tiptoe quietly around you.

Are you taking tomorrow off? We envy you, but kindly.

Are you still trying to figure out what to say on Dec. 26th about the Slaughter of the Innocents? You have come to the right place!!!

Pull up to the table and have some coffee cake. I promise goose later, and Prosecco for those who imbibe, and sparkling cider for those who are by nature more abstemious. We'll keep the fires burning for all those who have to finish up for tomorrow. Let us know what's on the table at your house.

And even if you're not preaching, feel free to share a Christmas wish or a favorite tradition in the comments.


  1. I'll be back in the evening as I try to cobble together a brief, kid-friendly homily (going off lexicon -- normally, I take perverse enjoyment in the "hard texts," but not on the second day of Christmas when we've cancelled children's church). I did my preliminary prep today (it's still Friday for a few more minutes) while waiting for pies to bake.

    Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have JOY today, even if you're still running as fast as you can.

  2. Merry Christmas, Rachel!
    It's very quiet at my house. It as almost 1 when we got home from church. 15yo daughter asked to sleep with me, which was sweet. But she is still sleeping, and I see no signs that is changing anytime soon.
    Ditto 20yo in attic.
    24yo, however, is already at a large airport, checked in and on his way home!!!
    I've got coffee on and am here to keep people company.

  3. Up at 7:00 with the baby. 3 year old and hubby still asleep for now.

    Blessings to all of you who made it happen last night and have to turn around and do it again tomorrow.

    After hubby preaches in the morning, we'll be going over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house.

    In the meantime, we're having homemade pizza for Christmas dinner, so I'll make plenty to share. We also have peanut brittle, fudge, and toffee. Enjoy!

    Merry Christmas!

  4. The Episcopal variation on the RCL provides John 1:1-18 for the first Sunday after Christmas, so I am thankfully not tackling the story of the Holy Innocents. I plan to use the Christmas homily of St. John Chrysostom as a meditation, so I just have a little more to do to frame it and some editing for time.

  5. Christmas Blessings one and all!

    Rachel, sounds like the perfect reason to go off lectionary! Hope you get some rest, too.

    Songbird - I'm glad your 24 y/o is on actually on a flight and that it wasn't cancelled. Hoping you enjoy this day, the quiet, and the festivities too.

    Esperanza - pizza sounds like the perfect dinner! I hope you have a blessed day too.

    Me - we were up late last night attending Christmas Eve services at the church where my son was baptized and I was ordained, where we went as a family for ten years.(It's an hour from where we live...) So, a wee bit tired, but now we're up and heading off to dog park. Later a simple breakfast and some Christmas at my daughter's (near dog park) and then a drive into Chicago for a family Christmas with the in-laws.

    So, lots of driving today and feasting and festing too.

  6. Jen, I always use John I too - and LOVE the John Chrysostom homily - still so powerful all these centuries later!

  7. I got home at about 12.15 and it was a few minutes past 1 when I finally was able to go to sleep...and for some unknown reason I'm up again at 8. I am sensing a day full of naps.
    Tomorrow we're doing just one service (instead of the usual 3) and I'm doing a sort of salon-style poetry and carols service. I got the idea from an article in Fidelia's Sisters. We pulled the piano up front and we'll sit near, read poetry and scripture (I'm using Christmas Day readings) and sing people's favorite Christmas carols (hymn-sing style). Should be a good time.
    I have a wonderful children's story to read for Epiphany, but you could do it tomorrow if you somehow either already had the book or could get it before Sunday morning (I don't know about you, but my stores are all closed today...), or you could find the book by next Sunday. It's called Humphrey's First Christmas and it's about one of the camels the wise men rode. Super adorable.
    Later today I'm going to have a huge green bean casserole that I should not eat all by myself, so I'll be back mid-afternoon to share. ;-)

  8. Good morning all! I plan to return this evening to work with a decent draft I got done yesterday. Today I am all alone and relieved for the chance to let my soul catch up with the rest of my being.

    I couldn't resist making cinnamon rolls this morning -- a family tradition -- so there are plenty to share.

    I'm off lectionary (as we have been all advent) to finish off the story of Ruth. Making a bunch of connections between the way the birth of Obed changed everything for Ruth, Naomi and the world with another baby born 2000 years ago who changes everything!

    I hope most of you are able to relax and enjoy this day!

  9. esperanza, Merry Christmas! I hope the rest of the family woke up eventually.
    We're still waiting on the 20yo here, probably need to give him a nudge.
    Jen, sounds like a good plan.
    Terri, I'm tired just thinking about it! We had a half-hour ride, and that made it a late enough night for me.
    Teri, I am ordering that book! Our service tomorrow will be a little eccentric, with a surprise reading from A Christmas Carol and also a couple of surprise carols. Because it's Christmas.

  10. Rev Irrev, we can smell my mother's traditional Baked Cheese Garlic Grits in the oven. But I would love a cinnamon roll, too. :-)

  11. Oh Songbird - you've brought back lovely memories for me of a Christmas we spent in South Carolina when we had shrimp n grits n gravy for breakfast! Now I couldn't imagaine being away for Christmas - but I'm sure those times will come again!
    Happy to share our three bird roast with lots of trimmings, followed by yule log.
    This day has been full of naps - before and after Christmads Day worship.
    We opted for Carol singing tomorrow, so just have power point to put together.
    I eventually found some festive cheer - about a minute before we lit the Christmas candle, so giving thanks for that - So glad of the watchnight - ensuring that we welcome the Christ child in worship. Some warming broth for folk to share before they make their way home was a new "tradition" that we started this year - it seemed popular, especially in the snowy weather.
    A very merry Christmas to all of you precious revgalpals.

  12. using different bits of the Christmas lectionary, instead of the slaughter. John 1 and Hebrews 1, asking the question "What Child IS this?" and, yep. That's about what I've got. I think I need to beef it up just a little. Although I'm told I'll probably have half as many as usual in worship. So maybe only half as long a sermon? Maybe if I draw out the children's chat? hmmmm. Lots of Earl Grey hot tea here, and I have the kettle on for HoCho or other options ...

    word verification elses .. or else this, or else that ... many options, eh?

  13. hello gals and pals
    Trying out my Christmas gift of a much needed new laptop here. Will probably take all of next week to get it up to speed with software and all that stuff. But here I am! Girls have been up since 4, and I got up at 6...we're waiting for an on-call doctor friend to join us for dinner, and then I head off for my Saturday evening service, which will be simple lessons and carols and communion. I am quite tired and have a migraine, but no good excuse since I didn't have to do any services last night and none to do tomorrow. Maybe next year, if I have my own church. Nice to be an associate at Christmas.
    Girls and my dad are all reading Christmas books while hubby finishes making dinner and dog tries to steal kitties' toys. life is good! Blessings and Happy Christmas to all - turkey and dressing and all the fixings with plenty to share ready in 10 minutes.
    Thanks for hosting, SB!

  14. Wonderful services last night despite my scratchy throat. Today's no-music service was very intimate - 4! - but still lovely. Nice to read the words I am usually singing. I think I paid more attention.
    Thanks, Jen, for the idea for tomorrow. I was almost thing the slaughter of the innocents might be preferable to John 1. ;-) I'll go search out Chrysostom's meditation, probably on Text This Week, eh?
    Today has ben delightfully quieet with snow falling all day. Company coming for dinner so the standing rib is about ready to go in the oven. Mom is here so there will be yorkshire pudding, too. I don't know why I think I can't make it....
    Blessings on all of you and your houses.

  15. Help! Chrysostom must have really loved the prologue. Which homily are you using, Jen?

  16. Merry Christmas dear friends,

    Just got up from my afternoon nap. Not much to prepare for tomorrow as we are doing a hymn sing.

    I'm baking a ham for tonight's supper. Beloved is reading one of the many books she got for Christmas and my kitteh is sleeping off his catnip high from his new toys. He is so spoiled.

  17. I'm doing the John 1 lection as well...still haven't a clue what I'll do with it. Perhaps, as several RGs have suggested, a riff on Chrysostom's homily...such sublime language!

    Apple crisp in the oven, soon to be followed by a roast beef and potato and goat cheese gratin, then brussels sprouts - clearly I'm more in the mode to cook than to write a sermon! Come Holy Spirit, come...and I'll even feed you!

  18. Hello, all, and Merry Christmas! I won't be doing worship prep in earnest till later on, but thought I'd stop by for a moment. My MIL just left (phew!). She moved up here (to a retirement community 2 miles from us) earlier this fall, which has been lovely and has also dramatically changed our holiday season. For the first time in years, we had no houseguests in the days leading up to Christmas, and that has been such a relief! She came over for our big feast yesterday afternoon, then we all went to the Lessons and Carols service at our church (which was lovely but long), then she spent the night. The hubs and I were up till 1:30 getting things under the tree, exchanging gifts with each other, and having a little holiday spirits.

    Now I have a hormonal headache and much packing to do, as we leave for Georgia as soon as our service is over tomorrow. I am leading an informal worship service and will be giving a brief personal testimony. Nothing scripted, but I do want to have my thoughts well-gathered by the time I go to bed tonight. I fear it will be another late night.

    I have a lot of food to offer, and we are leaving town before we can finish it all, so please help me! Ham, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, green beans, layered jello salad, and triple chocolate trifle from last night, plus breakfast casserole and monkey bread from this morning's brunch. Not to mention plates of cookies and candies from church members. Please help yourself to all of it!!

  19. Hello and Merry Christmas you all!!! I am thrilled that I instituted the Sunday after Christmas Lessons and Carols. It has all beeen done since earlier in the week so I have no work to work on tonight. Don't throw things.

    We have had a WONDERFUL low-key, just the 45 of us Christmas day. Four of us are still in our pajamas. My husband got cold so he put on some jeans.

    I got kind of jealous of folks tackling the Holy Innocents earlier this week. I did it once before YEARS ago, but it sounded like a fun challenge. I resisted the urge pretty easily since I love this non-preaching week. Thought about carrying it to next week, but for a number of reasons decided not to. Baptism, other Advent/Christmas themes, yada yada yada.

    Anyway, just wanted to stop in and say hi! Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

  20. I feel so out of kilter with you all. Here Christmas Day is huge, biggest attendance of the year. this morning [26th] I expected a small congregation, but about 80% of average Sunday attendance.

    we did carols and lessons this morning, and people commented on how lovely it was to have a more reflective service.

    heading off for a few days, then back for the service next Sunday. I am including the killing of the children with the coming of the kings.

  21. Friends, I hope you will forgive this disappearing hostess. I am headed to bed early, after a lovely family day capped off by a splitting headache. Blessings to all of you leading worship tomorrow.

  22. Merry Christmas to all of you dear fellow travelers in the "adventures in sermonating"! Yesterday, as I rushed to finish the Eve service prep, I thought "whew, just get through this and dinner tomorrow and then I can veg for the afternoon...maybe even watch a movie"...and then it hit me...Christmas Day is also Saturday this year and Sunday is looming large once again. Rats! I am one of those who work another full-time job and serve a small-membership church, and things just run together some times....or run away. ;-) And, I had planned a brunch for after church tomorrow (thought it might entice folks to come to church the day after Christmas and be a good time of fellowship)so I have to cook something...
    Then, we discovered one of the cats had been in a fight, so I had to take time out to assist my vet daughter in kitchen table surgery! So, since it is now getting late and I am tired, I have written a service with more than usual congregational participation and am hoping to get them to share a bit about Christmas blessings, or some such thing. (Come Holy Spirit, please) what I am not doing is the slaughter of the innocents...
    As usual, thank you all for being here, and a special thank you to Songbird for hosting.

  23. Hello friends, I'm home after a Christmas dinner, gift exchange, and movie viewing with a few other ministers and spouses. Nice low-key day, but now it's time to gear up for tomorrow and for vacation coming on Monday (my REAL Christmas)!

    We always save Lessons and Carols for the Sunday I am away after Christmas...which means it's scheduled for January 2, not tomorrow. Which means I have the Innocents to discuss tomorrow. Fortunately I did some preliminary thinking and reading last night after I got home at midnight, but there's still a long way to go. Plus washing dishes, doing laundry, writing thank yous, all those great things that kick in after a festive day.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  24. I'm somewhat relieved to see the numbers down this week. I hope that means most of you have been able to enjoy your Christmas Day. I just went over what I wrote yesterday for tomorrow and am satisfied. It is what it needs to be. That's all I can say.

    To all who are working, I have plenty of chocolates to offer and left-over kick-@$$ potato and goat cheese soup I made last night. In fact, I might get another tiny scoop before heading to bed.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

  25. I'm dropping by for a moment. The last time I preached on Matt 2:13-23 was 6 years ago. I'm giving thanks for sustainable sermons!

    Merry Christmas!

    Blessings on your Sunday!

  26. I'm back! Christmas with the family took a few hours longer than expected. (Doesn't it always?) But at least I'm on the west coast, so I have several hours left before I'm venturing into the land of sleep deprivation. And I wasn't hosting today, so I was able to relax and even slip in a few minutes of reviewing my text between the present opening and the second round of to-die-for appetizers served up by my cousin-in-law the gourmet.

    I appreciate all'y'all's virtual companionship, even if we are not co-laboring in real time, as I hope most of you have already gone to bed.

  27. hi there everybody. tomorrow is all set for me, too (week after christmas tradition = spontaneous christmas pageant) but thinking of you all who are writing and hoping it's going well.

    Thanks for hosting on Christmas Day, Songbird. And blessings all around....


  28. Well, I followed my usual sermonizing pattern...procrastinate until exhausted, then crash for a few hours of sleep in the recliner, then wake up about 5 am and start writing. I am now finished with 961 words (thanks to a bit of help from a dear friend)...I think brief is good on Boxing Day!

    Off to do other preparations for church, then print, then shower and on to the rest of the day and preparing for vacation. May "Low Sunday" be a good Sunday for us all.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day.

  29. Good morning, all. I'm ready with my testimony, which I hope to do unscripted. I'm looking forward to our service this morning.

    I would appreciate any prayers y'all could spare. The hubs and I were up till 2:30 last night finishing up our packing/loading/general trip preparation, and then we were up by 7:00. We'll be leaving from church to drive 800 miles straight through. I'd appreciate prayers for safe travel (I expect snow for part of our trip) as well as for my husband in particular. He has a brain injury and sleep deprivation (the last several nights have been short ones) can set him up for seizure activity (not grand mal, but still seizures). I plan to insist on doing a large portion of the driving, but I'm still worried about him. I'd appreciate your prayers.

  30. Earthchick---prayers are being lifted up for you and your family...I actually have the same problem as your husband so I totally get it. (TBI with seizures when over tired etc)and, as I'm sure you've seen on the news, there is snow down here in Georgia! So, be safe and I will send some prayers up through out the day. By the way, this is grace eagle...I can't seem to figure out how to post with my "name"...yes, I am older and tech un-savvy!

  31. this is a test...this is only a test...

  32. ok, cool, I posted with my name instead of "anonymous"...maybe next I can figure out how you put those little pictures next to your names!And then, maybe, in the new year, I can be more of a partcipant and less of a "lurker"! I am off to church soon, even though we have snow here in Georgia and even a few flakes tends to bring everything to a halt...blessings on all this day.

  33. Good morning!
    My head is much improved after spending about 10-and-a-half hours in bed. Trying to get the troops out to church. First time in over a year I've had all three kids home on a Sunday!
    grace eagle, you need to set up a Blogger identity and upload a picture. Then it will appear with your comments.
    earthchick, many prayers for safety and health as you travel, and for all coping with snow today, too. We expect a blizzard, but not until tonight.

  34. Hi all. Thanks for the prayers! We made it here safely last night a little after 2. Husband did great (and is still sleeping). I ended up with a terrible headache most of the trip (I think I'm possibly dealing with early menopause - ugh! - I'm only 39!), and my nerves were on edge for several hours during the mountains where it was continuously snowing.

    But we are safe and happy to be home.

    (p.s. had a really wonderful worship service yesterday morning with a surprisingly good attendance and a great spirit in the room. I was so pleased)


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