Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Good News

Preaching to me is all about good news, or it should be. If I haven't heard some good news about what God has done, is doing, or will do, it's not a sermon. It may be a nice talk or a good speech, or something, but it's not a sermon. It's not proclamation.

And, I believe that the good news of God transcends many things and comes to us in many ways. But the coolest thing recently is that I heard a sermon that transcended even language!

I took four years of high school German and one year in college. That was about 10 years ago, but I had a chance to go to a German Christmas service and hear my friend Jess preach in German. And I got it!! Okay, so I got enough of it from the German to know in my heart that it was good news. And then when I read it in English, that was confirmed.

And, I'm sure I'll steal (I mean borrow and share) some of the ideas for my Christmas Eve sermon.

Thank you, Jess!

(I'd make a link for you if I knew how!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Decorations

So the pastor that I work with is obsessed with decorating. Outdoor lights galore, three trees at home, decorations in his office. And I'm pretty much the other extreme. Let's just say I'm a minimalist. I do have some indoor decorations at home, half of which are up because by the time Easter rolled around last year and they were still up, I decided to embrace it and leave them up all year. We don't yet have a Christmas tree and even discussed whether or not to get one. But since we are hosting Christmas for my husband's family this year, we decided we should put one up. I've been thinking a lot about this and wondering if I'm a scrooge or what.

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve decorating the house for Christmas--music coming from the 8-track player (particularly Silver Bells and All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth), the smell of cookies baking, pulling out the boxes of ornaments and telling the story of each as we put them on the tree, often in pairs (one set for my sister and one set for me).

So, when I think about these memories, I realize that the reason decorations aren't a priority for me is that I have no desire to do them alone. It's something that I want to do with others, with those I love, with people who care about the memories of the ornaments, or appreciate the sappy, silly, or cheesy Christmas songs playing. As much as I love my husband, this isn't something that he seems to care about. If I want to decorate, the response is "whatever you want" or "go ahead." Not good enough, not worth it. Christmas will come; Christ will be born. I'll get to celebrate at worship, singing Silent Night by candlelight and this year I'll even get to preach, to proclaim Christ again among us. That's better than trees and lights and ornaments.