Ministerial Intern, Cindy Davidson
I love the music of the Christmas season --- the carols, the oratorios and cantatas, the standards. There is one piece, though, I've been trying to avoid -- and that would be the "Little Drummer Boy" carol. If you can make it from midnight on Black Friday to midnight on Christmas Eve without hearing this carol -- on the radio or TV or in a store -- then (drumroll) you have successfully completed the LDB Challenge ... pa rum pum pum pum! Only ten more days to go!
In the spirit of fun, members in one ministerial Facebook group jump in on a very long thread to post their "I'm out!" and "Still in!" messages. Tales are shared, and groans and laughs bring a fresh breath of light-heartedness to days otherwise filled with the challenges of ministering in trying times. Life seems to me to require a certain measure of laughter, fun, and joy to right the weight of seriousness we encounter in our daily lives and in our world.
"I'm out!" "Still in!" Sometimes I need to see those messages several times before I really hear them. I learn that it's not all doom and gloom out there, there's a time and place for playfulness even for adults! Similarly, on the door of the Minister's Study hangs a small sign that reads, "Don't Postpone Joy." It's a sign I first encountered a few years ago in the home of a friend who has adopted the phrase as her signature "slogan" and email sign-off. Having been raised on a pretty strict 'work before play' ethic, I've needed to see this message many times before really being able to hear it and take it to heart.
And so, with the chatter of children in the background, I spent a wee bit of time Wednesday dropping in on the Montessori School's holiday party in Fellowship Hall. I arrived just as Santa entered with his sack full of gifts for the children. Some were excited, others mesmerized, and a few wary. The joy of witnessing the children's and parents' delight brought to mind my own childhood encounters with Santa decades ago, at church in the fellowship hall, to boot! And also, the famous "Yes, Virginia...." letter from the late 1800's:
I'm "Still in!" on light-hearted fun. On believing in the wonders of the season. On welcoming joy in the present. And you?Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. (extracted)