Update on Christmas and Church by the Creek

Advent was pretty crazy (are we surprised?) There were the usual fundraisers and other activities
plus caroling, greening the church, a baptism (I actually
knew the family!) organizing gifts for 11 families and food baskets for 21, etc.
I was not in charge of any of this, but it was crazy all the same. Add to this
the behind the scenes prep work of writing, re-writing, and staging a pageant
and it becomes a circus. My carefully constructed pageant script had to be cut repeatedly until short enough for children’s attention spans.

I once heard a priest talk about a tiny church they were “stuck” covering
for Christmas one year, only to discover that the congregation put more into “keeping”
Christmas than he would have ever imagined. This is what CBTC is like. There are greens,
poinsiettas, ribbons, and candles crammed into every nook and cranny. Just in
case things aren’t crowded enough, there are high pew candelabras on every row
and a creche crammed into the Mary chapel. Did I mention the candles?

Anyway, the early service (think Youth Sunday combined with a play) was a
complete and total zoo. The kids did well with the play and got laughs in all the right places.

I was asked to distribute the bread at both services. This caught me a bit off
guard but I had little time to think about it. A parishioner baked us delicious
but very crumbly bread that was not well suited for Communion. I wound up
concentrating on getting actual pieces of bread rather than crumbs into people’s
hands rather than on the fact that I had never distributed the bread before.

The late service was beautiful and made up for the earlier chaos. Of course, everyone
couldn’t just go home afterward. They had to stay and eat and socialize. It was pretty late when we got home, and then we decided to decorate our tree.

Some recent highlights –

– The inevitable “clergy moment” when one of the Sunday School parents remarked
that she had “never seen me in normal people clothes before” when she
encountered me at pageant rehearsal on Fri evening after work. I thought in my
head “that’s because you never come here on Sat. to help with anything” but kept
that to myself. Another “clergy moment” (not what I’d call a highlight) was
having a parishioner comment that I’m probably too young for the spiked punch.
Not that I was actually having any. Um, okay. I know it’s supposed to be funny,
but it also kind of says “now young lady, I think you’re about 12, so don’t go
getting out of line around here!” It’s not a big deal but it does kind of grate.
Maybe I shouldn’t have let my 31st birthday go unnoticed… 🙂

– Distributing bread, lots of it, at both Christmas Eve services.

– The young man (8th graders are the best) cast as the bishop in the pageant. At
first he balked at playing the part, but then insisted on getting the entire
costume exactly right after we found him a cope to wear. I’ve never seen a kid
voluntarily put on a cassock with an alb before, but he wanted everything to be

– Being remembered specifically by name in the intercessory prayers the kids
wrote for the early service. I’m sure the teachers “helped” them think of it but
it was nice all the same.

– The fact that people are starting to complain in front of me/tell me things/
ask me things/discuss God/the Bible/the latest pop culture religion book/movie
with me.

– Being given the responsibility of deciding where $500 we raised for hurricane
relief would go. After explaining that I wanted to send it in the form of Home
Depot, etc. gift cards to Camp Coast Care run by the Diocese of Miss, the vestry
gave me twice what I expected – $1000 total to spend on behalf of CBTC.

That’s about all – not particularly profound thoughts tonight, I know, but just
a slice of life here.


~ by Sophia on January 4, 2006.

One Response to “Update on Christmas and Church by the Creek”

  1. Glad you survived Advent and Christmas. We were worried about you. It sounds like the usual crazy, over-full, wonderul/exhausting/awful season. Do you get any sort of little break now?

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