The turkey buzz is over. This week alone we have five Christmas parties! I am tired just making my checklist of what to bring to each party, what to wear, scheduling childcare, etc ... As I thought about what to write for this blog my heart was overcome with the emotions and stress of the season. I want to be joyful and sentimental and have all of those "christmasy" feelings, but instead I feel cranky and frazzled.
As a teenager who felt a strong calling to ministry, I never imagined I would feel this way about Christmas. My favorite thing to do was attend our church's Christmas Eve service. I loved everything about it: the readings, prayers, special music and candlelight. I loved my pastor and couldn't wait to hear his message. I knew it would be meaningful. I missed the fact that his wife was at home with sick children, or that all of his extended family lived 10 hours away. I get it now.
My husband and I have been serving churches for the last 16 years. Christmas is much different for those on a ministry staff. The Christmas Eve service is right up there with Easter. It's full of excitement, lots of faces and heavy expectations. The pressure to perform is immense. Feelings of loneliness and isolation loom. My husband spends the day preparing his message, worrying about the crowd and hoping he'll remember names and stories. We arrive at church early to help set up. Christmas is much different on this side of the table. We must find ways to recapture a sense of child-like wonder in the midst of our grown up responsibilities. Here are some things to consider:
Meredith Snowden is married to Matt Snowden, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Waco. They have two children and love spending time together as a family. Some of their favorite activities are hiking and traveling.