I preached at our church on 12/28 and thought I’d post the message here for those of you who might enjoy reading through my notes. It’s always a vulnerable thing to preach and try to let it end in that moment rather than replaying and analyzing for the week to follow. I bring a lot of myself into each message, so it’s a really personal exchange. I love the opportunity but then also dislike how torn I feel immediately after worship when family life is tugging (sometimes literally) for my attention when I also want to sit in that minister role for a bit longer. Only more time and more work toward balance will let me know if this is something I’m ready to do with regularity.
If you don’t plan to read through the message, the essence of it is looking at Luke 2’s quick mention of the shepherds returning to life after their encounter at the manger. My question and challenge was what will we bring with us from this Advent/Christmas month? Are we able to return rejoicing for all we have seen and heard? And have we been transformed by our experiences?
Returning for my family means the return of work for my husband, and I have missed his presence greatly today. It will soon mean a return to two-day preschool for my son, and that will be a fun return. It also means a shift in focus for all of us, but for me in particular, as we enter the final weeks (less than six) until the baby girl is due to make her arrival. I find that myopia sneaking up again as I focus my efforts on closets and clothes and making room in our nest. I haven’t quite made sense of how my Advent observations (you’ll just have to go read it because we don’t have time for elaboration) will connect. I have been most excited about the ways our faith community is reaching out and welcoming neighbors. Now I am in a time, though, when I really do sit as observer rather than participant. All I can do is give witness to what I have seen and heard and heartily affirm what is going on around me. Our family will find a new rhythm and work into the community again. Until then, our return this week seems to be to a new waiting place.