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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

November 20, 2009


I recently read this little story from Ralph Milton in his “Rumors” email newsletter, which I and many preachers receive…

If people don’t hear the Christmas story in church, they will hear it only as told by Wal Mart and on TV. Reminds me of the couple who noticed a manger scene on the lawn of a church. “Look at that,” said one to the other. “Now even the churches are trying to horn-in on Christmas!”

Ralph Milton is right. We, in the church have got to get our act together and present the entire Advent Christmas story in the four-week time of Advent. We must get the story, and the Christmas Carols out there in front of people. We need to explain how and why these things are important and somehow wrestle Christmas away from the retailers.

OK, a brief notice here. I have no problem with what the retailers do and our gift buying and gift giving. For a preacher to rail against that is like trying to stop the rain. This is America and we are all about capitalism, like it or not. So, without a diatribe against the commercialization of the season, without proclaiming “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”….which, by the way, you can buy on plaques, just right for Holiday giving, at many Christian bookstores and Christian Supply Houses, or purchase THE bumper sticker (and how many miss the irony of such a gift?)…..I am going to mention a couple things we will be doing this Advent/Christmas season. None of these things are very revolutionary.  

For years I have attempted to add a couple extra Christmas Carols to each of the worship services during Advent. We’ll do so again this year. As a kid, we would sing all of these in public school and in church. Today those carols are the exclusive property of the church and the local shopping mall and Andy Williams. So, we had better sing them while they are in season. We won’t be singing Silent Night on the first Sunday of Advent but we will sing it on the fourth Sunday of Advent and on Christmas Eve and I think, even on the Sunday after Christmas. “What Child is This” will get similar worship time. I love them both.

I asked our Music Director is this was OK and she looked at me like, “And why would this NOT be OK??” Which I took for her agreement with me, and indeed it is. She even was playing some new Christmas songs. They are pretty nice. We just might delight you with the new as well as the familiar Christmas Carols.

Ralph Milton also suggests using the Gospel passages of Luke 1:26-38 on the first week of Advent…it tells of …the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to the town of Galilee.  My set Lectionary passage is from Luke 21:25-36 and tells of…  Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world.

I think I’ll work with the former passage…Luke 1:26 on the first Sunday of Advent. There certainly is a place for the “apprehension” which humans feel about things to come, but Advent will be in it’s third week before we come to the more familiar “Christmas” stories if I follow the Lectionary.

I know that this probably confuses you, but this certainly is not the first time you have been confused by a clergyman. Suffice it to say that we will cite the Hebrew passages from the Prophets who tell of the coming Christ and the birth narratives from the New Testament. I know that my seminary professors would cringe that I have not offered up stories as they are set in the Lectionary and that we are singing the Christmas Carols before Christmas arrives.

But, none of them are going to leave California in winter to check on some former student in Ohio. And if they do, they’ll get over it. In this case, the message is the medium.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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