Monday, December 24, 2007

A Hard Season

Friends, this has been a hard Advent season for Beloved and me. The ghosts of our pasts are out in full force, haunting our relationship in ways that keep startling me. I never know which poltergeist I might find breathing its icy breath in some unexpected corner.

Part of it, I know, is the stress of the season. The church and commerce have this in common: this is, in many ways, our make or break season. I sit in my darkened living room, watching my tree, and I know that in a few brief hours I'll be presiding and preaching over the once chance some folks will give me to be their pastor. It's an uncomfortable feeling: I have this one shot, and that's it. I know that's not an accurate reflection of ministry, but today, that's how it feels.

We said goodbye to P. this weekend. After so many years, not simply of health, but of truly thriving, her loved ones experienced these last months as a violence, and so they were. P. never truly recovered from a sudden illness that took much of her strength. Probably she was well aware that she would not be able to go home again. That was a huge loss to her. As we mourned her together in the congregation, friend after friend told me stories of her: her wit, her intelligence, the way in which she enriched every life; her gift for hospitality. So many people hang on until after the holidays: I wonder whether P. couldn't face the holiday away from her beloved home.

After tonight's service I will come home to Beloved, and I will make a dinner for us. We will both have put down the enormous burdens of this particular season, work-wise. I pray we will be able to lift a glass to the joy of coming home to one another.

If we make it through December
Everythings gonna be all right I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shivver when I see the fallin snow

If we make it through December
I got plans of bein in a warmer town come summer time
Maybe even California
If we make it through December we'll be fine

I got laid off down at the factory
And there timings not the greatest in the world
Heaven knows I been workin' hard
I wanted Christmas to be right for daddy's girl
Now I don't mean to hate December
It's meant to be the happy time of year
And why my little girl don't understand
Why daddy can't afford no Christmas here

If we make it through December
Everythings gonna be alright I know
It's the coldest time of winter
And I shivver when I see the fallin' snow

If we make it through December
I got plans of bein' in a warmer town come summer time
Maybe even California
If we make it through December we'll be fine

~ Merle Haggard

6 comments:

KJ said...

I'm sorry to hear of the "stressors", but hope that you and Beloved have a blessed and peace-filled Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!

LittleMary said...

i hope church was good for you. we do need a talk or too, c. looking forward to time soon with you to hear all the stories. love ya.

AJ said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Barbara B. said...

Stressors are so difficult... I hope you had a wonderful dinner with your Beloved.
Merry Christmas.

don't eat alone said...

Here's to December ending and a new year ahead.

Peace,
Milton

Catherine + said...

Here's to the 12 days of Christmas where the blessing continues with joy and celebration. Let go and let God, my dear sister, ultimately He decides on your ministry and I sense He is well pleased.