My Love/Hate Relationship with Christmas

Every year when Advent rolls around I have mixed emotions. On the one hand I love to sing the rich carols, hear the familiar texts, and take in the sights and sounds of the season. On the other hand, I always feel like the expectations for a worship leader are so high, and it's easy to become consumed by planning for a big "program" and lining up musicians and scheduling extra rehearsals.

However, when it all starts to come together, all the hard work does pay off. For our Christmas event this year, we decided to go with a number of testimonies from people within our congregation. Our Advent theme has been, "Where Heaven and Earth Rejoice." We've been looking at the canticles in Luke's Gospel: Zechariah's song, Mary's song, and the Angels' song.

To bring things home a bit, we wanted people to share their story, their "song." So we asked three individuals and one couple the following questions:

(1) Where have you experienced loss in a recent season of life?
(2) Did you reach a crisis point?
(3) Where did you find hope?
(4) Where/How did you meet Jesus in the midst of this crisis?
(5) What has the body of Christ meant to you during this season?
(6) What does Christmas mean to you now?

The stories are powerful, everyone gave honest answers to the above questions - no sugar-coating, no perfect resolution, just real stories. I'm looking forward to our services this weekend, and I pray that God is glorified and his people are encouraged through story, song, and the Word. If this happens, all the planning, all the rehearsals, and all the hard work will have been worth the effort.


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