Don’t do these things this Advent
By Margaret Marcuson
How are you doing this Advent? Here are some "don'ts" to keep in mind through these weeks:
Don't neglect to take at least five minutes a day for yourself. Light a candle. Read a few verses of Scripture that aren't a part of sermon prep. Listen to some music you love.
Don't feel guilty that you can’t connect with everyone you think you should. If you figure out the time available and what you have to do, you'll see it's not possible. Do your best, and connect with the others in January.
Don't think the worship experience all depends on you. However you are handling Advent and Christmas worship this year, remember that people can be touched even when you aren't perfectly prepared or when there are technological glitches affecting those watching from home. God's Spirit is at work in Advent and Christmas worship, beyond anything we can imagine.
Don't forget your extended family. You may not have time before Christmas, but think now about someone from your wider family to connect with on Christmas Day or after. And while you're at it, think about your favorite Christmas childhood memory. It may give you a boost. Here's one of mine: I remember the year my mom made us new Christmas stockings out of felt. I still have mine.
Don't worry about end-of-year giving. Even if it looks tight, you can't control what people give. You can’t control their financial anxiety through these uncertain days. Worrying will not cause anyone to give more. Practice celebrating what the church has received this year, and trusting there will be enough.
Don't miss out on worship. It's not easy to worship when you are leading and/or preaching, especially with all the stresses around creating special in-person and hybrid worship. You can miss the worship experience completely. Can you find a way to worship anyway? If it doesn’t work for you during your own worship, find another way to do it. I love Pray as You Go from the British Jesuits, which has a daily worshipful meditation.
May you have a blessed Advent and Christmas this year.