December is both exhilarating and sacred

In November, a movie scout called me to see if he could look at our worship space. He is involved in the filming of a movie, and one of the scenes has the protagonist going to church at Christmas. The filming would need to take place in the first two weeks of December. He nonchalantly asked, “You would already have your Christmas decorations up though, right?” “Actually,” I had to tell him, “We do not put up Christmas decorations that early because that is in the middle of Advent.”

For most of our country, “Christmas” is a season that is ever expanding. I spied Christmas candy out the day after Halloween – almost two months before the feast of the Nativity. For the secular world, Christmas is a long season of consumerism, splashy colors, and loud parties. But for the sacred world, Christmas does not begin until that most sacred Christmas Eve, where we gently place the baby Jesus figurine in the Crèche, and we sing our Silent Night song by dimmed light. Until then, we enter into a season of quiet preparation. Our sequence hymn at the 10 a.m. service tells us to “Be still for the presence of the Lord.” Our prayers are simpler and our readings are more contemplative. We allow Advent to breathe into us while the outside world is attempting to suck everything else out.

At times like these, I am grateful for the sanctuary of St. Margaret’s. I am grateful for a community that invites me to let go of my Christmas to-do list for at least one hour a week. I am grateful for a community that helps me to spiritually prepare for and redefine what Christmas will be for my family. And I am grateful for a community that meets me where I am – whether I need a boisterous family service on Christmas Eve, an honest and vulnerable Blue Christmas service before the big holiday, or a quiet moment on Christmas Day. St. Margaret’s is here to provide meaning and depth in a time that can normally be hectic and overwhelming.

I hope you will make it a priority to join your church family for the worship offerings available this month. I also encourage you to join us for “Reading with the Rector” this month – a book of short devotions for each day of Advent, Christmastide, and the beginning of Epiphany. And I invite you to join in the vibrant, fun offerings this month as well – Pancakes with Santa and our Annual Meeting. The life and love of St. Margaret’s is on full display this month. Come and see!

Christ’s Peace,

The Rev. Jennifer Andrews-Weckerly