advent 4

The final week of anticipation.

The mundane: Party for church officers last night at the RevDoc’s house for the AP’s farewell. We spent three hours at the party and another hour and a half at the baby-sitter’s where our kids and the AP’s kids all were. Didn’t get the kids to bed until 10:30. Now it’s 8 am and they’re still asleep. We may actually have to wake them up to get to the church for pageant rehearsal.

Today is the whole church farewell, including parts of the liturgy. There is a “liturgy for the dissolving of the pastoral relationship.” These Presbyterians–they think of everything. The church custom is to invite everyone into the choir at the end of the service on Advent 4 to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Evidently it works out that the “liturgy for the dissolving of the pastoral relationship” will immediately precede the Hallelujah Chorus. The AP is not amused. (eta: Evidently that got changed after Tuesday. No Hallelujah Chorus.)

The sublime: I had my copy of The Irrational Season in my hand yesterday, but must have set it somewhere and can’t find it now. This I love:

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child
~Madeleine L’Engle

And I am particularly enamored of today’s (Sunday, December 18, Meditation Day 22) Advent Meditation from the church. Click on the link in the right sidebar. It’s pretty exquisite. (I think exquisite is my word for the year. Must not overuse.)

I can’t find the comment right now, but someone wondered in a comment on the “11th Hour Preacher Party,” and I think in the Lectionary Leanings, too, what it would be like if we celebrated Jesus’ birthday like we do our birthdays, with a celebration of our lives–not our births. I’ve been pondering that. I think we do it all year long, but still. We don’t celebrate Abe Lincoln’s birthday by focusing on the Log Cabin. I don’t even know the circumstances of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth. We mark their birthdays by looking at their lives. With Jesus, the birth is important because that is when God becomes flesh, but the life, death, resurrection, and the continued work (“What is Jesus doing…?”), that’s the thing. That’s the thing. And I suppose a nice thing about the liturgical year is that we do celebrate ALL of those moments, but Christmas gets so much publicity and if one is not in the church or if one comes to church rarely, the birth story is all there is. How can we make it more than just a baby.

I just did a google image search on “Happy Birthday Jesus” and got some pretty disturbing images. Like this one (I’m sorry):

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