December For Church Artists and Leaders

It is officially December, and for those who are planning special Christmas celebrations in your church, I understand the knot in your stomach and stress of the remaining days until your services take place. For over twenty years I was intimately involved with putting together our celebrations. I vividly recall going to the grocery store early in the month of December, and starting to panic when I read the date on a milk carton and it was closer and closer to December 24! There were never enough hours to put the celebrations together, to rehearse and tweak and prepare the gift we wanted to serve our community. But on top of that, there was always the little detail of personal Christmas stuff! I could never figure out how to manage the shopping, wrapping, cookie baking, parties, and family commitments on top of the load at church.

To all of you soldiers who give up such an enormous part of your holiday season crafting experiences for others to gather and worship the Christ child, I want to say thank you on behalf of the people who may never say it but who surely appreciate your sacrifice. You pay a huge price as you fulfill your calling, especially this month. I know how hard it is to breathe, to find any solitude to reflect on the wonder of the Christ child, and to be as fully present as you long to be with family and friends. More importantly, God knows all that and more about you. He sees your struggle, and He is delighted with your faithfulness. So in the next 25 days, don’t expect more of yourself than is realistic. There will be moments after Christmas when you can fully exhale, and be the friend, mom, or dad you want to be. God has called you to manage as best you can the competing demands of churchwork and personal life during this month, and He wants you to take it one challenge, one moment at a time. He is with you and He is for you.

And just so you know…when I was responsible for our services, I always thought that church was the reason I was so behind on the personal side of Christmas. Now that my role has changed and I’m freed up…I’m just as behind as ever. So the truth is, I can’t blame the church. I just happen to be a hopeless procrastinator!


dshaw said...

Just wanted to say thanks for the "Arise, shine" Christmas card we received today. Right in the midst of a moment of madness, God used your words of encouragement to refocus our department and speak peace to our hearts.
Very thankful for you!

zanne said...

funny--i just posted about this this morning, came here to look for a script, and... !

i've kind of decided recently that, as the pastor over all the arts & technical stuff, over all the worship gatherings and special events, that my expectations of 'regular' Christmas is something i am giving as a sacrifice, as an offering, to the Lord. I do my best to take care of my personal Christmas, (and am usually pretty much behind and crazy there too!) but the hardest part of all, i think, is the 'inside-me' personal stuff--the getting to experience Christmas part. this year, as i've tried to be more intentional about giving up my expectations to Him, i've found Him 'showing up' in unusual places and in unusual ways, with amazing, unexpected gifts for me. and they're very clearly gifts. things like walking in EARLY sunday morning to set up our 'resource table' with all the new cds & books & gift cards we've added for this season, and found that someone's come in and done it for me--and made it much more beautiful than i ever could! or getting to hear one of our worship leaders rehearsing a beautiful song, totally immersed in his music, and through that being brought into the Presence in a totally unexpected, serendipitous way. they're little sweet moments that i'm suddenly really AWARE of, where in the past i might have been so focused on something else and missed it. it's wonderful, and it's clearly the work of the Holy Spirit, and it's immensely humbling. i'm incredibly grateful for it. life is still crazy, and i'm still panicking over things--like sunday morning when our second gathering advent candle-lighting family called in sick!, or the sound board kept playing monitor mix 5 in the HOUSE but NOT in the monitor and NONE of my audio gurus could figure it out, or what are we going to do without a bass player for that worship gathering? and WHEN am i going to get the chance to scan in and modify those pictures for the reading next week?--but somehow, these amazing gifts He's being so generous with, so gracious with, are making all the difference. i hope i don't let myself get distracted, or focused on the wrong things again (the work rather than the wonder), and heaven knows it's likely, but for now...

for now, for this season--

it's enough.

Steve said...

zanne, thanks for your comments. I'm a part of the Arts team here at the WCA, and up until about a year ago I was a worship leader/programming director. I totally get what you're saying about making your Christmas season an offering or a sacrifice. I know that's incredibly difficult, especially for your family, so I just wanted to encourage you in that.

Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing what's going on inside. It just reminds me that I want to work that much harder to help you do what you do.

Also - I think it's great that you're finding moments during the busyness to notice His hand and what He's doing - that's something that I consistently struggle to do as well.

Thanks for modeling that...and reminding me to look for those things in my day-to-day as well.

Peace -