A funny time for churches

Here it is two days before Christmas Eve, and here I sit at home, comfortably marooned by ice and snow and freezing rain and general all around genteel misery, wondering what Christmas is going to be like for this parish priest.

In spite of the (usual) heavy demands on my time in the days and weeks before Christmas, known in my tradition as Advent, I love the Christmas services. People actually sing in church because they know the carols. People say they love the sermon mostly because it’s short and to the point. I know that many people at the “midnight mass” (now moved two hours early to accomodate the stress of staying awake that late for our aging faithful), have had a drink or six before coming to church, dulling their critical senses and giving a false sense of congeniality.

Having said all that, this year I wonder. The recession is hitting home to everyone. Working class people are being laid off, and comfortable retirees are refusing to open their monthly and quarterly retirement fund statements. The mainline denominations, of which mine is the most mainline (Episcopal) are generally losing people and therefore financial support.

I’m almost 67, the time when a generation or two ago, my ancestors were either well retired or dead. I wonder what’s ahead in the next few years.

Chances are, I will keep on doing what I’m now doing, assuming that my respective employers don’t tire of me.

I wish for all the world peace, prosperity, freedom from suffering, disease, and want, and for a sense of completion at something in your life and the challenge to get up and work another day. Merry Christmas.


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