Christmas Lists or Christmas Listening

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

Advent and Christmas as a sole pastor for the first time were a bit overwhelming. After six-years in team ministry with a veteran senior pastor, I was in for a rude awakening. From December 1 to January 1, I attended four Ladies Aid Christmas parties, three Christmas concerts, two Christmas programs, nine Advent services and preached fifteen different sermons thirty-one times. Over the course of that month, my days were spent double-checking my lists and my calendar to make sure that I was not forgetting where I was supposed to be next and the seemingly never-ending task of sermon preparation. By the new year, I felt like all my creative juices had been emptied. While I wanted to burn my Advent and Christmas worship notes and never see them again, I knew that I needed to hang on to them for the coming year. All of the services and special events just seemed a blur.

Pastors are not the only ones who are overwhelmed during Advent and Christmas. From ushers to acolytes, secretaries to sound board operators, there are lots of people who spend hours upon hours at the church during the month of December. My hope and prayer is that you can concentrate a little less on your lists and a little more on listening in the coming days. Too often, church people can be a bit more like Martha and consumed with all of our busy-ness. In these days, it is good to be like Martha’s sister Mary by spending time listening to the Word as it is preached, prayed, and sung. God’s Word will accomplish what He intends and ultimately He does not need all of my hard work and preparation for the Word to bring joy to troubled hearts.

It is a blessing for the saints of God to hear that the good news that the angels bring is for YOU! For unto YOU is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. My hope is that you will find time to listen to the Word at your home as part of your family devotions or take time off after Christmas to attend worship with no other responsibility other than listening. But even if your schedule does not allow such travel, find a time to listen to a colleague’s preaching on the internet so that you can be reminded that the good news is also for you. May God bless your celebration of our dear Savior’s birth and may that celebration also include a time to listen to the good news that is proclaimed to YOU!

Prayer – Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit; one God, now and forever. Amen.

Fraternally in Christ,

President Lee Hagan

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