This has been a difficult week for me, the death of a little six year old has overshadowed our advent preparations, and made many of us here in Downham Market look differently at Christmas. With that in mind I ask whether you are the kind of person that likes everything prepared well in advance, are you a last minute crammer, or a bit of a mixture.....
Here then is this weeks Friday 5:
1. You have a busy week, pushing out all time for preparing worship/ Sunday School lessons/ being ready for an important meeting ( or whatever equivalent your profession demands)- how do you cope?
Little sleep and minor illness (from sleep deprivation). Seriously, that's a habit I'm trying to break. Another habit I'm trying to break is being ruled by the tyranny of the urgent: I'm asking myself, about each task, is this really important? If so, it gets on my list of things to do. If not, I'm learning to say "no" on occasion.
2. You have unexpected visitors, and need to provide them with a meal- what do you do?
Take them out! It's not worth stressing myself out to feed them, when there are terrific restaurants in the area, and I don't have to clean up. Besides, that's how I get Ben to go with me to eat the food he doesn't: "but they're company, honey!"
Three discussion topics:
3. Thinking along the lines of this weeks advent theme; repentance is an important but often neglected aspect of advent preparations.....
It is; we can't be authentically who we are, and can't share ourselves in relationships with God and one another (which is, after all, what we're made for), unless we can concede that we are not perfect in ourselves. While as a good Methodist, I can affirm that I am "going on to perfection", my part in that work of Christ's grace is to examine myself and my life and see where I need to rethink, repent, change. Else it's "Sinner, turn, why will you die?" and that's no fun at all.
4. Some of the best experiences in life occur when you simply go with the flow.....
Did I mention part of my job is youth ministry? That's the only way to do things is to get set up as best you can, then relax and roll with it. The advice I give brides and their mothers (the rest of the wedding party's usually just along for the ride) is that we do our best right up to the big day to make sure everything's as perfect as we can manage. Then, we relax and decide that whatever doesn't go precisely according to plan is fun and amusing. Two quick anecdotes: first, I usually tell brides and grooms during the vows "Don't look at me, I'm already married!"--it makes for a good tension breaker, and can keep a little weeping from becoming sobbing. Second: at my wedding, we had two communion stations where Ben and i had the bread, and the co-officiants had the cups. We both ran out of bread at the same time, and couldn't get the attention of the other clergy to hand us some more from the altar. So I turned around, hiked up my skirt a little, and stepped on the kneeler cushion so I could reach over to get bread for Ben and for me. My only regret is that the photographer was re-loading his camera and missed it.
5. Details are everything, attention to the small things enables a plan to roll forward smoothly...
Most of the time, yes. But not all the time! And a good sense of humor and of what's most important in the grand scheme of things can take us pretty far. There's grace for everything (even the ceremony I missed last night due to calendar confusion...'course, presents don't hurt either).
Bonus if you dare- how well prepared are you for Christmas this year?
Pretty well, if you consider that I've determined that decorating is not imperative. I've got most of the shopping done, just need a few more things. Where I'm really behind is baking, but I'll get caught up next week. Or it won't get done, and that will be okay too. Baking's a part of the season that always gives me pleasure, even when I'm stressed about it.