I am often asked about how things are going with the new Church, how can people be praying, etc.... It has been a hard question for me to answer more often than not, but I do have something that has been on my mind lately that I wouldn't mind inviting you into.
For the past 15 years, my children have lovingly been referred to by anyone who ever grew up in the church as, "Church Rats". What that has meant during the Christmas season specifically, is that our family traditions look very different than most. During the month of December, it sometimes has felt like we are at church more then not. Well, I guess the honest truth would be that it has felt like Aaron was at church more than he was home. There were various Christmas concerts to be planned and executed, other ministries that required his services (or mine), Town Holiday Parades, Caroling, Staff Christmas Parties, Worship Team Parties, Small group parties, and obviously - the infamous Christmas Eve Service (not to mention the Sunday before and after Christmas Eve). It was A LOT. Somewhere throughout the years I began to call Aaron, Scrooge. He would tire quickly of Christmas music and anything else remotely "festive" that was required of him during the month of December. All the meanwhile, I love the idea of tradition and all things Christmas, and have tried so hard to make our December's meaningful to our kids despite our weird schedule. I did not want them to look back on the Ghost of Christmas Past with disdain for the church.
December has always been an exhausting month. For the first few years at our last church, there was a family that had the sweetest gesture - they would bring us a Honey Baked Ham on Christmas Eve. Most years, I struggled with the gesture, as I had not expected the gift and had already purchased all the food for the next day. One year we had a particularly busy December, and I was so looking forward to our Christmas Ham...knowing that I at least got off the hook for the fancy Christmas dinner. The ham didn't come that year. I was so sad. We went out for dinner to Dave and Busters that Christmas Day. I cried. The kids loved it.
That story had nothing to do with anything..... sorry....
Now, lest you think I'm bragging to the World Wide Web about all we had to do and how amazing of a mom I am to make it special for our children, let me just tell you - I did not do it well. I would complain and sulk and huff over the hours that Aaron was away from us. As for the day of Christmas Eve itself, which most years required a 10 hour day for Aaron, myself AND our children - it took a lot of effort to go into that with joy. As long as I could sing my favorite carol, "Oh Holy Night" - I would find a way to settle down. (You think I'm kidding. My poor husband has had to deal with me for 15 years. I'm not kidding.) It took even more effort to get our kids to go into it with joy (admittedly so because of the expectations I had put on the season). . Every year they would moan (just like their mother) about how they just wanted to go look at Christmas lights and eat our Christmas Eve chili at 6 pm instead of 9 pm. Turns out, letting them have the run of the church, letting them eat the food I would bring for all the other volunteers, be a part of the band, and dress up as Nativity Scene creatures did the trick.
|Our Little Church Rats|
|She's with the Band|
|I'm sure he was singing some Christ Tomlin song in this picture...or Barenaked Ladies.|
This year, for various reasons, there is no Christmas Eve Service, programs or concerts for us. (Except for our 6 month anniversary/Christmas Party.....but that's just super cool.) We will just be a normal family this December. Two weeks ago, my kids began to realize that this year would be different. We would not be at church all of December, but mostly all day on Christmas Eve....and they were not okay with this. They truly have come to view our 10 hour "work day" as tradition, and while we all complained about it every year to some degree - they loved it....who am I kidding ..... we loved it. We are all feeling the weight of our new normal, because the last 15 years is what we have known. It's what WE did. It has become tradition. I say weight because traditions don't come quick, nor do they come easy. This year we
So there was my really long story about how you can pray for us. There has been an increasingly growing amount of "new norms" for us during this season....and I'm not always doing well with it. Whether it is because I miss the people, miss the places, or miss the traditions and am not sure how to start again....I don't know. Probably some of each. But it just doesn't feel like "Christmas" this year. And I don't like that. So pray we develop new traditions, pray we enjoy being with each other this December, pray our kids (and me) do not grow weary with the many changes, and I suppose same as before - pray they do not look back on the Ghost of Christmas Past with disdain for the church.
One special little gift I have from season's past was when Aaron and I had a band with some very dear friends. We made a little 3 song Christmas Album to gift to our church that year. Take a listen. And feel free to mock us.
Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel
Glory to God
Jesus Came to Save
And if you get nothing else from this blog post, know that your Pastor, Minister, Reverend, Father, whatever...is going above and beyond this Christmas season....and his wife just may welcome a nice ham to take at least one pressure off. Me?? We'll be at Dave and Busters.