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End of stress
By rick brand
One of the ways I have solved this problem is that when asked to do Christmas stuff during December for the first couple of years, I always talked about Advent, picked music that was Advent music, and talked about waiting about preparation, about what we were getting ready for, a kingdom not of this world so how come we expect gifts from this world to be affective in making us ready for that kingdom.
As you can imagine the response was polite and kind, but now I do not get asked much to do Christmas party devotionals. The groups get other people. It works for me.
Dear Pastor Phil
By Dee Dee Haines
Hello, friend. I so appreciated your honest expression of the pressures of Advent.
Last year I tried something different. I needed to be able to prepare in a shorter amount of time. When I was asked to speak at various gatherings, I often prepared something that was fully interactive.
Smaller fellowship gatherings, women's groups and men's fellowships seem to enjoy answering a page of questions about their own experiences. Something as simple as "Christmas as a Child", followed by questions about personal memories, turned out to be a great way for people to share about themselves, their traditions and their faith.
I arrived with a worksheet printed in a large font containing about 15 questions and gave the group time to fill them out. Of course, the conversation between participants evolved nicely and by the time I brought us together to compare answers, everyone was already relaxed and eager to share. I began with something simple like, "What is the first gift you can remember giving?" It's easy to tailor to any context.
I acted as the facilitator for a fun trip down memory lane and found myself 'fed' by the sharing. I also learned much about the folk I am fortunate enough to call partners in ministry.
Dear Pastor Phil
By David von Schlichten
Advent is indeed quite a stressful time. It sounds like you were pulled in many directions.
What if you said no to some things that you said yes to last year, such as some of the speaking engagements? What if, with regard to a few of the counseling requests, you said, "That is really important to me, so let's schedule a time after the holidays to meet and talk about that." Of course, some issues can't wait, but others can.
Most parishioners understand that Advent and Christmas are busy seasons for the pastor. When we say that we just do not have time, many people are pretty understanding. At least, that has been my experience.
By Pastor Phil
I am already feeling anxious about Advent and Christmas.
Last year was just horrible. The special services at the church, the community services, the invitations to speak for local groups, school assemblies. I want to visit all the shut-ins. My counseling hours increase. Then there is time with the family and Christmas parties.
It was like I didn't even see Jesus last Christmas.
Any suggestions about scheduling time during Advent/Christmas? How do you handle the stress?
Dear Pastor Hot Under the Collar
By Rev. Tom
Yes, those clergy collars get hotter than most!
You could suggest that your congregation migrate to a more northern climate and then you would not need air conditioning. But don't go too far north or you'll just need more lighting.
Seriously, check with an electrician (maybe your congregation has one... I hope he or she has not been the one meddling with the thermostats!). There should be some automatic devices that you can indeed put behind lock and key. And read the Book of Acts.... seems like Paul and Silas went somewhere to help with this very problem...except someone was just burning too many candles.
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