Last week as I prepared, I wrestled with whether or not I was including enough ‘Christmas joy’ in my sermon. Even after preaching it, I felt uncertain and was left pondering. To proclaim that “God is present with you in the mundane and the monotonous” is surely good news, but is it good enough news for Christmas?
In the end, adding more joy into the mix would have felt dishonest on my part. Feigned. Manufactured. Disingenuous. It turns out, not only can you only receive good news where you’re really at, but you can only proclaim good news from where you’re really at. At one point in my life, this would have been a disheartening realization for me. After all, isn’t the pastor’s job to uplift the people?
No, that is not the pastor’s job. Thank God for that! God meets us in reality – even priests, if you can believe it. Christ is making us a community that can bear one another’s burdens, but that is only possible if we are a church that can name our burdens to one another. In proclaiming good news to you this past Sunday, I felt ministered to and uplifted. It had nothing to do with the quality of the sermon. There is something about naming reality as it is and being present with you all in the midst of it that nourished my spirit. Thank you for your commitment to being with each other in reality. Thank you for being you.
Friends, may you rest in the confidence that you are not alone as you move through your week – in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Go in peace!