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Saturday, December 24, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: All Christmas, All Weekend Edition

Good morning, preachers! It's Day Two of our Christmas prep preacher party. When will the bells ring for you?

Whether you're preaching tonight or tomorrow or both, we're here to get everything ready together. At my house, the coffee will be on all day, and there are Christmas cookies galore. Pull up to the table and join the party! Join us in the comments and tell us about your plans, your hopes, even your dreams of tomorrow's Holy Nap or trip to the airport.

Meanwhile, here's a favorite carol of mine, one of what I call the "non-negotiables" for Christmas Eve:


  1. Alright! I'm bringing the party over here now. Who's coming with me? I'm not letting myself going to bed until the Christmas Eve sermon/homily/meditation is done and in the bag. The shorter ones are always harder for me because it feels like I have to take the fun stuff out. Shorter is what this has to be with all that is included in the service.

    I think it's about time for me to employ Juniper's "write for 20, break for 5" scheme to get this one down on "paper."

  2. I'm here, too!

    Christmas Eve is good to go except for the printing.

    Christmas Day I have to cut some stuff but I'll do that sometime tomorrow after I have a chance to run to church and get the revised order of worship that I failed to upload to dropbox. At this point, I'm just glad I remembered that I changed some things!

    I'm going to finish watching this movie (that isn't good enough for me to name but isn't bad enough to turn off) and then go to bed.

    I'll be back when it's light outside.

  3. I'm dying to know what the movie is. Must write something....

  4. only to keep death at bay: Saving God via netflix streaming. I should've known better ...

  5. I should've watched Serenity again. It would've been a better use of time.

  6. Hee hee. Well, I'm not done like I said I would be when I'm going to bed, but with 602 words, including my end, which I never do, and my beginning, I think I'm going to go to sleep.

    I plan to set the alarm for 6-ish to finish before the family gets all cranked up for the day. It'll be nice to have the day with everyone and just head in a little early to help get ready for worship when it's time.

    Blessings, Vicar, and anyone else still around. I'll pop back in later!

  7. Good night, SheRev, and hello Vicar, if you are still here. Joining the new party since I have a long way yet to go.

    Family service at 4 pm--I have a draft of a super short meditation, but I'm not happy with it
    Candlelight service at 9 pm--I got nothing
    Lessons and Carols at 10 am Sunday--idea for a sermon but nothing else yet

    Lots more to do before I can get on that plane. Back to it now.

  8. BTW I love the idea of a movie that isn't good enough to name but isn't bad enough to turn off. Heehee!

  9. Well its 4pm Christmas Eve here in Beijing and I've written my offertory prayer on an index card (the Christmas Eve offertory goes to an orphanage to help pay the heating bill) and it's time for a dinnerish snack and to go down and see if we can get a cab for ourselves and our robes and the candle holders and all the other boxes and bits that we seem to have for this evening's carol service. Then we'll come home and eat (glasshouse) strawberries and (imported) ice cream in a nod to our New Zealand summertime Christmas traditions... The children's talk is done for the morning (an A-Z of the nativity with thanks to the Young Women's Clergy Project, adapted a little for our context) and my co-pastor is preaching so hopefully we're good to go... Hope those of you waiting for the Spirit's inspiration find the words coming easily as the day goes by... Shengdanjie kuaile!

  10. Love the image of what Christmas in Beijing is like, Jemma. Thank you for sharing--I've been there for vacation, but to think of celebrating Christmas there is very different. Do you blog regularly from there? (and if so, which blog is yours?)

    I just finished up the Christmas DAY sermon, which I feel really good about. However that means I still have a big fat NOTHING for Christmas Eve, which is fast approaching. But I'm awake now and in the writing groove, so I should strike while the iron is hot. (???)

    (p.s. for purists...when I suggested doing Lessons and Carols, it was agreed to hesitantly under the condition that we still have some kind of sermon. seems a little weird to me, but okay.)

  11. Hi semfem,

    Hope you find the words you need for Christmas Eve. I blog somewhat irregularly from Beijing - it's been a tough year! (Hope that link works, otherwise I think if you click on my name in the comment, it should work!)

  12. Thank you Jemma...reading your blog, yes, it has been a tough year! I know so many who just want 2012 to be better than 2011...I hope and pray it is so for you.

    Christmas Day: CHECK (needs polishing, but in good shape)
    Christmas Eve 4 pm: CHECK (500 word meditation now fixed and edited)
    Christmas Eve 9 pm: NOTHING (sigh)

  13. Hmm...I still don't have anything written, but I think I have finally settled on a sermon idea for the Eve. In case anyone else needs a last-minute idea, let me share this podcast with you (like Ramona, I have also found some good ideas on the ELCA clergy FB page).

    It's the story of a reporter who travelled to Afghanistan after the Taliban fell and discovered musicians who had been practicing underground for years...once they dared to trust that the Taliban really had fallen, their joy could not be contained...and an evening of music turned into an all-night dance party. I think it's a great illustration of the power of true joy--joy like the shepherds knew, joy like we might dare to know today.

    At least I am really, really hoping that it will be a great illustration once I put it into sermon format :)

  14. I think Christmas morning service planning is now complete.

    nativity characters

    and I have my husband's present wrapped. won't see anyone else for a few days, so plenty of time to wrap their presents.

    still plenty of rocky road and Christmas cake to share.

  15. forgot to say, I am including Bethlehem rhapsody as a pre call to worship in the morning.

    while I sleep, it will be Christmas Eve for many of you. God bless you as you finalise services and lead worship.

    I'll be back in the morning to wish you Merry Christmas.

  16. Greetings everyone - Merry Christmas Eve or Christmas! depending on the time zone.

    I'm in the EST and have 1 Christmas Eve meditation to write out and the things I want to say during Christmas Day's service to talk through. That one is going to be an enlarged 'talk with the children' around the Communion table and although I am usually bearable off the cuff, I certainly want to get a better grip on what I'm going to say about Communion.

    FIRST! I am typing out ten rules for The Boy from Santa about his iPod. (#1 Enjoy!, #2 Leave it in the house, etc...)

    I'll be back for some coffee!

  17. I have very rough drafts of all 3 meditations. I'm the first year in my new appointment and this church only has a 7 and 11 pm Christmas Eve service (the last one had 5 services!!!). What I am more concerned about are the funerals I will be presiding over on Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to distractions of little children wanting Mommy to play with them instead of work and family who we will not be with this season. Now that I've thrown myself a pity party, it's back to type up the 7 pm meditation.

  18. Oh, I forgot to mention, if anyone has a liturgy for blessing of the presents, I am still looking for one for Christmas Day. I also am debating appropriate attire on Christmas Day. I encouraged my congregation to come in their pjs if they want. But I feel that the pastor should probably show up in something more formal than footie pjs. Any thoughts?

  19. Watching the AM news, working on sermonette/homily/meditation for this evening and...then must get ready to go to the big, toy store.
    I still find it horribly ironic that as a part-time church emplyoee/part-time retail clerk, I will spend the first part of Christmas Eve selling toys to last minute, desperate(read GRUMPY) shoppers. Actually, we do have some fun ones too, but most are not happy...especially when you do not have the item they want.
    But now watching the story of our local hero who has "helped Santa for 33 years" by delivering toys to the poor.A child says, " I learned being generous everyday, is a good thing."
    Okay, I am better now. Thanks
    I heart Country Santa.\

  20. @Megan...You could wear a bath robe to be a bit more tidy

  21. Megan, there's a whole conversation about this at Beauty Tips for Ministers, if you read that blog... :)

    Here's my sermon status:
    Christmas Eve 4 pm: CHECK
    Christmas Eve 9 pm: CHECK (finally!)
    Christmas Day 10 am: CHECK

    So in other words, I'm now going back to bed to get a few more hours of sleep! Will check back later...hang in there everyone...

  22. Happy Christmas Eve, all! I'm here and the coffee is in process, and there are cinnamon rolls about to go in the oven!
    As I reported last night, my story for the family service is yet to be written, although I outlined it yesterday. The empty Word doc is waiting!
    SheRev and Vicar, thanks for bringing the party over.
    Jemma, blessings to you. May the new year be less challenging. semfem, I'm sorry they weren't willing to let the lessons stand for themselves, although I have always managed to sneak in some kind of reflection...
    Megan, welcome, thanks for joining us. My kids are older, mostly grown in fact, but I still want to spend time with them. I think the trick is actually leaving town between Christmas and New Year's, though I only started doing that in about Year 4 of ministry.
    kzj, you are clever as usual.
    And 1-4, I promise, if I find myself in a store today, I will be kind, in your honor.
    More when breakfast is ready.

  23. I planned to get myself up at 6:00 or so to be the first one up and finish working. That plan was ruined by the two bigger ones who have been up and screaming at each other for at least 30 min. I went up there to tell them to get back in bed and shut all their lights off, but I can tell already it's not going to work long. Time to squeak out the last couple hundred words of my sermony things and then go up there and try to pretend I'm not as ticked off at them as I am. It's not worth it to ruin the day.

  24. Good morning, ladies! Wishing all of you a blessed celebration tonight after a calm and peaceful day of preparation.

  25. Happy Christmas Eve, my Blogging friends. Thanks be to God, the Christmas Eve meditation and Christmas Day sermon are complete, the bulletins have been printed, and we are waiting...waiting through the last day of our Advent journey.

    Our youngest son has been visiting us this week at our Virginia home. (We have enjoyed his college break as much as he has.) After the service on Sunday morning, over the river and through the woods, we will go to Tennessee for a week of rest and relaxation with the whole gang. I think I can smell the December cider brewing, already!

    Merry Christmas All!

  26. Pearl, how did I miss you last time? Merry Christmas! Robin and Glenda, welcome.
    The oldest of my three doesn't get home until tomorrow morning, so the great celebrating begins then. I've got to manage some cooking today, too, but writing first. Go!

  27. I'm up, cats and dogs fed, husband at work, son still asleep...but at 19 y/o I anticipate he will sleep for awhile. I am goong to bake some cookie dough I mixed last ight and left in fridge to chill. Then I am going to finishe my sermon, and make mashed potatoes and stuffing to go with our turkey breast for dinner tonight. We'll eat between the 5:30 service and the 10:30 doubt, a full day!

  28. Sometimes these little ones don't know how lucky they are that they are cute. :)

    A few hundred words longer than I wanted to be. Poop. I need to cute a few out and then I'm ready to go. I'm really nervous about length tonight because we're including communion and at the 5 pm we could have more than double the number we usually see on Sunday since we're worshiping with two congregations together. My congregation doesn't usually do communion on Christmas Eve, so with that and the candle lighting length at 5 p.m. is touchy.

  29. Oops that was me just above. I've finished, but it's about 500 words longer than I hoped. I might leave it all in, but mark with color or font the short version and the long version. (Even long is about 700 words shorter than my Sunday length). The long might work at the 10 pm service that I don't expect will be as packed.

    One more little edit session, and I'm calling this one done! Will post when it gets there.

  30. It is light outside but I really did not intend to be here this early. The dogs were perfectly content to let me sleep so of course my body didn't cooperate. I'm hoping to doze in the recliner since I'm not really ready to face the day. I wonder if anyone has turned on the heat at church? hmmm Another thing to put on the to-do list for a little later today.

  31. Stephanie, I said those same words many times when my kids were little....sounds like the sermon is coming together for yours, mine is now too I'm leaving it for a bit, then will come back and edit.

  32. I come with gifts of eggs & bacon on this Christmas Eve morning (EST). Woke at 6 to draft two Christmas Eve meditations -- "Just Like You" for 7pm with children, "At Last!" for 11pm communion service -- so i hope to spend the bulk of my day being Mom and helping my kiddos wrap presents, etc. Blessings to all on this full day of life & ministry!

  33. man, y'all were up late/early! I'm up and ready to go get my manicure fixed (yesterday's digging around for costumes and getting set up for the pageant did a number on my nails...but the wedding is in 5 days, so can't have that!), then I'll be back to write the wedding homily. I know what I want to say and where it's going, I just need an opening line. Once I have a good opening line, I think it'll all come together in just a few minutes of really focused writing. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.
    I'm hoping to get a workout in today too, before heading to church at 2pm and staying until 11.
    Someone left me fudge and chocolate covered balls of some kind (they have peanut butter inside)--help yourselves! :-)

  34. Stephanie, glad we're not the only ones with grinchy children and grinchy Mama this morning. Grumble, grumble. Oldest is arguing against things that *no one has said,* and Littlest is recovering from a cold and thus extra-clingy. Sigh.

    And there's a steady, cold rain here. Grateful for the moisture, but really? On Christmas Eve?

    Need to work on the Invitation to the Table (I wrote a special one and would like to have it mostly memorized) and the details for tonight. I have a feeling that will all have to wait till naptime.

  35. Good morning preachers!

    I've been reading some Madeleine L'Engle as I had my cereal, hoping for inspiration to strike. I did my Advent 4 sermon around "the irrational season" and now I'm thinking of "the Glorious Impossible" for Christmas (and if you don't know that book--L'Engle wrote the text (the life of Jesus) and it's illustrated with frescoes by Giotti from a chapel in Padua--amazing!)

    Happy writing/cooking/baking/wrapping everyone!

  36. Welcome, y'all! Yes, I return to my Southern roots in times of great stress and/or exhaustion.
    I'm writing, finally. 21yo is up and sounds like he's heading to the shower. 16yo is at her dad's until this afternoon. For once I was able to shift some of her shopping to him, which is a relief.
    Just stopping to refill my coffee mug...and seriously, have a cinnamon roll! There are plenty to go around. :-)

  37. Terri, Rachel, Teri, esperanza and RDM, good morning!

  38. Done! I posted the slightly unedited version at my blog, but since I got the pictures and everything in it, I don't feel like going back to put the real version in. I didn't delete too much, but I did put some less necessary sections in italics, so I know what to skip when time is tight, but I didn't have to hit the final "delete" button on words that I got sort of attached to. I'll have to decide which of my two "way ins" to use in the moment. I like both, but recognize that both are not necessary. One is more personal, but not too much.

    Teri the sentence that finally got me started was "Every birth has a story."

    I'll try to pop in again during the day to see how things progress. Now time to return to the mommy job.

  39. Hello again!
    Typing up what I have on my yellow notepad (sometimes that's how I roll). My hair appointment was just moved up by 30 minutes so I need to get this typed in before I leave so I know where I am. There is time to fiddle in the early afternoon, but I'd like to be at preachable before I leave... in about 40 minutes... Yikes!

    Gotta go.

  40. Good morning! I have a fresh mug of Airborne (zesty orange flavor!) in hot water... gotta take care of the voice for this evening! I'm happy to share :-)

    Things seem a little bit better this morning... I dreamed that a seminary friend gave me feedback on the Christmas Eve sermon, and it was actually helpful. So now I need to make everything for child-friendly! I've been so lofty in trying to explore John 1 that I think I've just about killed the accessibility.

    Many prayers to you. And semfem, a sermon at Lessons & Carols is so not right. I guess it's good that they like to hear you preach, but I wish we had a bit more mystery and could just rest in music and scripture!

  41. Semfem - I loved the Taliban/musician story too. I just couldn't figure out how to use it for Christmas Eve.

    1-4-grace - retail clerk in the am and preaching in the pm" wouldn't that give you an unique perspective on how the Story meshes with the cultural celebration?

    I find myself envious of all you who have projection capabilities. You've got great visuals that I wish I could use. Wah!

    I'm finishing my coffee and taking a few more moments to relax in my jammies before getting started on this day. I'm going to run with the sermon I wrote yesterday. So all I need to do today is finalized the bulletins and print. And wrap gifts.

    I have whole wheat sourdough bread to offer fresh from the oven for your morning today, or sandwich making!

  42. Okay, I have a draft! Woohoo! It's a mixture of interactive for the children and reflective for the adults, based on putting the figures in the manger scene. I think this will work. I now have my two Confirmands promising to help with the moving parts. Phew!
    We're going out to do a couple of errands, then I'll be back to look over tomorrow's sermon.
    ramona, that sounds delicious and reminds me that we need lunch around here...

  43. Good morning everyone!

    I'm awake. Grocery store run completed. Cleaned out the fridge. I wish I had new Christmas clothes.

    I am trying not to stress about tonight. I am the "preacher" for the children's sermon which is *the* sermon for the earlier Christmas Eve worship service. I changed my mind yesterday about what to do. That, in itself, is probably not a good sign. The Assistant Pastor is preaching at the later service.

    Tomorrow we are having a birthday party for Jesus, beginning with a "birth announcement" at the beginning of the worship service. A confirmand said he wanted to "play an elf" on Christmas Day, so I planned the worship around His Elf-ness and the children who will be there. There will be gifts to unwrap (the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love) and the whole thing will end with a birthday cake right after the worship service.

    Thanks for the coffee and cinnamon rolls. Perfect comfort food! I'll try to settle down now.

  44. Stephanie, I love that opening sentence! "Every birth has a story!".... My opening sentence is boring even me....

    But I'm talking about gratitude, not births, specifically...sigh.

    Oh well, at least all my food prep is done, now I can focus on the sermkn, again.

  45. Good morning preachers and friends and thank you to Martha for hosting us! I am trying to polish up my Christmas Day sermon while my wonderful mom (chief elf) wraps gifts next to me and the King's College choir streams from the NPR website to my speakers. The Messengers in the Manger...having folks bring in their wise men, shepherds, etc, and talking about how we need to go from focusing on the baby to turning around and sharing the message with the world. I hope it flies. In the meanwhile, the unbloggable continues, leading to my feeling very unChristmassy, angry and hurt. Trying to let it all go.
    It's neat to hear from all of you all over the world as you prepare and my prayers are with you.

  46. TBTG, I have a draft, inspired by Madeleine L'Engle and a quote from William Temple that was posted on FB this morning...and it is something I can use both tonight and tomorrow (should I feel guilty for only writing one sermon?) And it's woven around the notion of Jesus as "the glorious impossible."

    I wonder if Madeleine L'Engle, resting in God's nearer presence, has any idea how many sermons she has inspired for me?

    Now I can shower and wrap presents and do a load of laundry, and a quick run to *bux for a skinny peppermint mocha before they close.

  47. Merry Christmas Eve All!
    Just a short meditation tomorrow, which I probably adlib - the two other staff of the church (organist/offic admin AND custodian!) have agreed to help with the sermon, so they are each telling a story about christmas past and future - I will tell one about christmas present. I think it will be sweet.

    Have a great Christmas and I'll see you next Saturday!

  48. Merry Christmas Eve, friends! Sending many blessings and much energy your way as you companion your folks into Christmas. Martha, thank you for your holiday hospitality and for the carol.

    I have a Christmas blessing and brief reflection over at The Advent Door, at this post: Christmas Day: How the Light Comes. I'd be delighted for you to stop by for a few moments of quiet as we cross the threshold into Christmas.

    Gratitude and peace to you!

  49. Hello, Jan and Juniper and Sharon and MumPastor!
    We did our last errands!!! I am free to focus on church and cooking. Stopping to eat lunch with my college son, then I'll take another look at tomorrow's sermon and (most likely) rewrite the beginning.
    We brought home Challah baked in the shape of a Christmas wreath, help yourselves to a piece. :-)

  50. Oh thankfully my sermon is complete enough to be posted A Christmas Story


    Now I am going to do some yoga and get ready for the rest of this day/night/and tomorrow.

    RevDrMom - I intend to preach the same sermon at the service tonight and again tomorrow - and I don't feel guilty. (well, I might if I though I would have some of the same people at each service, but I won't)...

  51. Oh, and RevDrMom - I love your theme - the glorious impossible!

    I got inspired by "Every birth has a story" and built mine around "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it"...

    see inspiration abounds here! Thanks!!!

  52. Always late to the party on the left coast... good morning, and Merry Christmas Eve!

    Almost ready here. Sermons framed out for tonight (2) and tomorrow (1). Tonight's preaching focuses on the fragility of a newborn infant, and what God/Christ has to teach us in being present that way. Really the same message, with bit of a different slant since the 5:00 pm service is more family-oriented (read, sort of children's sermon-ish). We have a couple of newborns in the congregation, so that service will also have visual aids. :-)

    Today at home will be prep for a week off, beginning Christmas afternoon. I love my congregation, but I so need the break; this is the best present of all.

  53. Loving "the glorious impossible" and in need of some of that.


  54. I have checked and double-checked my bag for tonight and I think it's all ready...

    OK. SO now I have to figure out what to do for music on Christmas Day. I'm thinking of playing and leading from the keyboard... which I can do if I don't have someone else who plays. The organist for CHristmas Eve has a paid gig for Sunday since the regular organist didn't want to come in on Christmas Day.

    I found a back up candle-lighter since the one we have at church tends to not work when you need it most. And I think I figured out why the lavalier mic was not working... no battery in it!!!

    And since everything is prepped, I'm sitting listening to a classical Christmas channel on Spotify, crocheting and thinking about family and friends... and all of you. May the joy and peace on earth we preach begin first with us!

    #2 daughter just made fresh chocolate chip cookies... mmmm..... help yourself!

    Peace, friends!!

  55. Actually, as I found out, it was easier to write a sermon for Lessons and Carols because it means I get to preach on the prologue of John for a change! Fun!

    Christmas Eve was tougher than usual...Ramona, I had a hard time fitting the Afghanistan story in at first, but THANK YOU JESUS, when I looked at it in the wee hours of the morning, something just clicked and I started writing.

    My last two Communion visits have declined, saying they are planning to come tonight, so I think it's just wrapping up loose ends here...starting to pack, making sure I have food to eat since things will be closed, printing things out, getting to church early.

    Joy to all and prayers for those who need them!

  56. And I did post a little of tonight's sermon.

  57. Mumpastor, thanks for mentioning that you can get King's College streaming online... my local NPR won't host it until 3 pm, so it cheered me to hear it this morning!

    semfem, glad you're glad about getting to preach the Prologue of John. I love love love that passage but I have struggled some with using it for my Christmas morning text... how to make it child-accessible?

  58. La Peregrina...I hear what you're saying. I drew some inspiration from Frederick Buechner's sermon entitled "Air for Two Voices" in his book "Secrets in the Dark." He talks about there being almost two discrete voices intertwined in the prologue, a soaring divine voice that you can hear echoing in a cathedral somewhere (In the beginning was the Word...) and then an insistent, slightly nasal, and very human voice (There was a man named John...he came to witness to the light, but he was NOT the light).

    I used this idea in conjunction with another illustration to talk about "words" versus "the Word", but I wonder if you could do something more fun with this actually have the two voices doing a dialogue sermon, or demonstrating them somehow, getting kids to laugh at the whiny nasal voice, etc. The important kernel is that we need both voices in that text to truly understand who Jesus is--both human and divine.

    No idea if that will help, but I thought I'd toss that out there :)

  59. Ooh, there's also a few parables out there to make John 1 more child-accessible...the story of the man trying to let the birds out of his barn comes to mind ("if only I could become one of them")...and at the Christmas Day sermon includes a parable of Kierkegaard with a king who becomes a beggar to woo the hand of his true love. That could also work for kids.

    Okay, moving on now, I promise!

  60. So many good ideas here today!

    I'm satisfied with tomorrow's message, and now I'm taking another look at the things I have for tonight's services. It's getting close!

  61. I need to contact a pastor in Hawaii. I think most of you will be to your last services or finished, by the time I get started on Christmas Eve. And some, like Pearl, will be into Christmas Day. I'll hold down the fort here in the far west.

    Our children's service theme is The Friendly Beasts and we have masks to wear and LED candles to hold during Silent Night.

    For our candlelight service, I do something different each year. This year I wrote a little 2-person play that I'm doing with a congregation member as two cows who are in the stable. I think it's funny, but we've practiced it until I'm nervous about it. I'm not sure it's supposed to work that way.

    Tomorrow (Christmas Day) we have a baptism and then we're counting down our top 5 Christmas hymns (we had open voting all month) and sharing the stories of those songs.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night's sleep on 25 December!

  62. So many stunning ideas...I am going back through the comments and "cut and paste" for future use. Thanks everyone!

  63. So many stunning ideas...I am going back through the comments and "cut and paste" for future use. Thanks everyone!

  64. Here's a link to an old post on my blog to my favorite story related to John 1. I think it helps kids because most kids understand being afraid especially afraid of the dark. We do not need to be afraid when we have Jesus who is the Light because the dark can never put out the Light. The story helps show that each Christian also carries some light so we are "light bearers." The story is better than my description.

  65. Julia, so good to "see" you! Purple, I agree. And Vicar, you are, as ever, the go-to for everything that is most helpful.
    I've printed everything out and am hoping to grab a tiny little rest before getting dressed for church. Lots of excited texts flying back and forth in my family as we prepare for both Christmas and the vacation to follow. I have to try not to get ahead of myself!
    We have an array of delicious cookies, supplied by friends and family. Who needs a boost?

  66. Dressed and ready to go! It's early still (first worship not for 3 more hours) but I'm going to stop at the hospital to see a 2 parishioners who are having it rough right now.

    Leaving with much gratitude for all of you!

    Taking a cookie to go!

  67. Merry Christmas Revgals and pals. it is 7am here on the east coast of Australia.

    has anyone written words for the great Easter hymn, Christ the lord is risen today, for Christmas?

  68. Not everything, it just happened to hit a favorite. And I was pretty sure I had put it on the blog previously.

    Everything I need for tonight and tomorrow is printed. The heat is on at the church and I have hours before I need to be there. I guess I should dig out wrapping paper and start creating a mess with it so the presents can come out of the shopping bags. ... oh yeah, I have to get the stockings out of the attic! I almost forgot! I'll do that right now

  69. reading through your ideas and as always I amazed by the diversity and the creativity.

    Sharon, love the birthday party.

    Christmas morning service starts in an hour, so time to shower, dress and get down there. a member of the congregation offered to play carols on the bagpipes as people arrive - he was wondering yesterday if he should be outside on the footpath or in the hall. in the church would be too loud.

  70. Read over my sermon, and now I hate it. I'm going to chalk it up to nerves... and let it go.

    TIme to shower, primp a little and leave for church. Guest organist wants extra time to learn a new organ (to her) and I will need some chill time away from my computer...

    May God speak through you!!!

  71. Deb - That regularly happens to me on "big" days when it's too late to do anything else. Trust your first instinct and the Holy Spirit to have your back!

    The stockings are hung. The wrapping paper retrieved. I don't actually need to have anything wrapped until 12/26. I decided to see what kinds of paper I really have. In the bottom of the box I discovered American Girl Christmas paper. We have had that a least 8 years now. One roll is still in plastic. I think I might wrap even the itty bitty stuff in the stockings that usually doesn't get wrapped just to use up that paper and make the "Christmas" experience last longer.

  72. Bulletins for tonight and tomorrow are finalized - we just need to print. I'm second-guessing if I got enough candy canes for my children's sermon. We usually have 5 kids at one and about 15 at the other, so I figure a box of 60 will be more than enough. Then the congregations told me to double the usual print of bulletins and at the children's program last week, there were way more than 15 kids present - and there were no out of towners yet. And of course, everything is closed now and I can't get more.

    Off to finish printing. I'm hoping to have things wrapped up by 5 so I can relax for an hour or so before I need to get to the first service. We'll see how that goes...

  73. We are heading out to the country town for service #1. I'll check back in between! Blessings, all!!!

  74. About 30 minutes ago I was feeling quite proud of myself for getting the dishwasher unloaded, reloaded, and washing. Now, it's time for me to shower and the dishwasher is still running ... I'm glad the shower is closer to the water heater.

    May your celebrations go smoothly! (or at least be a good story to tell)

  75. Aaack, the bulletins are giving me fits! Oh well. They'll get printed and we'll have worship!

    Blessings on everyone's Christmas Eve worship and on worship tomorrow.

  76. Hi all - I'll help Julia hold down the fort in the far west -though she is just a little further west than me. For early service I will be telling the story of the shepherd who stayed behind, a story I made up. For late service I'll be reviewing Christmas movies as they try to find the "true meaning" of Christmas. Tomorrow the gospel is proclaimed in lessons and carols and communion. Merry Christmas everyone.

  77. Done. A simple meditation on the layering of God in our lives. A Time for Pondering. Now I can light luminaria, wrap presents, worry about the Bishop's visitation, go out for dinner and go to bed. No church for me until tomorrow. But then it's double duty. Bishop at 8:00 at the day shelter and a quiet service at 10:00 at my home parish. Prayers for us all and deep gratitude for God's continued birithing in our lives.

  78. Some of you might remember that last Christmas we lost two of our three boilers. Well guess what? When I got to my office this afternoon it was 58...went downstairs and the third boiler was stone cold. It only heats the wing where my office and the library are, so it's not a big emergency...but I can't believe the timing.

    Nice crowd at the early service, but the organist was way too loud and the choir only sings at the late service (WHY I don't know and I'm already thinking we need to rethink how we do Christmas Eve for next year.)

    Now to grab a bite to eat and finish wrapping gifts before time to go back to church.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  79. RDM, are you kidding me? Shoot.
    Our first service went well, and we're home eating shrimp cocktail. (Well, there were a few minor things I would have liked to be different, but nothing that took away from the pretty candlelight while we sang Silent Night.)

  80. Home from a very unique Narnia-themed Christmas Eve service in which I was a reader. May never grow used to not planning Christmas services.

    Had a ministry-related interview last week, not pastoring but something related and very exctiing...and today received a very warm and gracious and apologetic "...we liked you so much, but..." call. Three interviews have resulted in me still working at a financial firm. I hope that 2012 will bring me, at last, some clarity and direction. If not, I must learn to be content in all circumstances, I suppose...

    Blessings to all who still have services, sermons and bulletins to do!

    Tomorrow for us will be spent with our two grown children and their families. A little bit of snow is on the ground, but not enogu to count...I expect some of you would be happy to say that about now! I'm off to deliver nut bread to our most excellent neighbor.
    Merry Christmas!

  81. PS, RDM, I DO remember the boiler incident...and wow...not again!?

  82. RDM, I remember that too. Too, too coincidental...

    And there's such a delicate balance between music too loud so people can't hear themselves sing, and music too quiet so they are self-conscious. The choir is a different question...hmm.

    Merry Christmas, everyone! I'm just being mama and preacher's wife tomorrow, so I'm busy wrapping presents tonight.

  83. Merry Christmas to all. Fun reading through the after service feedback. One memorable highlight for me- the toilets did not overflow as they have for the last 2 years on this night! Have to say I am glad this one is over. It was fine - touched all the bases. As I texted RevDrKate candlelight and lively babies make many things better. Not having my full voice is weird and limiting in ways that I take for granted. I got through it with minimal nose blowing with the assist of helpful meds. Blessings on those of you who continue to preach and celebrate. Renewing rest and the presence of God's love for those navigating presents and destinations.
    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

  84. Home from the second service. Merry Christmas, one and all!!! I hope you'll check in and let us know how it went.

  85. so, it's not every day that in the prayer after communion your pastor utters the phrase "the light can never overcome the darkness." wait....that's not right.

    oh yeah, that was me at the third service. I didn't quite get the words in the right order. oops.

    other than that, much fun and beauty and holy was had tonight. Hope that's true for everyone! Now to think about the morning...and by now I mean "while I sleep"...

  86. Whew! Only a couple more services! I love reading all your
    Rev. Dr. Mom - yuck to the boiler!
    And Teri - your story really made my morning! Haha, puts all the blunders we all made into perspective!

    After the service last night, I spent a tearful evening by myself, but somehow (a Christmas miracle) I'm waking up almost ready to tackle the day. May the Spirit be with all of you this morning!

  87. Good morning! We're putting eggnog in our coffee (fabulous!), awaiting the arrival of the oldest child via plane later this morning. I am now appreciative of the afternoon service time, which is allowing some recovery from last night before I have to think straight.
    To those who are already at church or soon to lead worship, many blessings on this beautiful Christmas morning! (It's 13 degrees here, and we have the heat cranked at my house.)

  88. Merry Christmas, everyone. Hugs to everyone separated from their families by their callings this morning. We'll be headed off to family tomorrow. For today, church, then naps, then presents (no one has told our children you get presents first thing in the morning, and I'll thank you to keep that hush-hush!).

  89. Warm comfy slippers on my feet, I am off to church and then dinner with dear friends. May Jesus be born anew in us and in those we encounter along the way.

  90. Up til 3 am wrapping :( I thought when my kids grew up that would end but apparently not so much...

    Good news is that the boiler is back on--somehow a switch got turned off-a switch no one is ever supposed to touch. Not sure how that happened but relieved we figured it out.

    I could write a whole post about music but I'll save that for another day.

    One more service this morning and them I'm hitting the road and hoping for not too much snow on the drive.

    Merry Christmas everyone...and let me say how grateful I am for all y'all.


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