Thursday, December 22, 2011

BETHLEHEM MINUS TWO, AND COUNTING … Leading to a Complaint Against Some Clergy

In accord with tradition and demand my shopping list for food and drink is on the way to being completed. Checked off. Done. Whatever word or phrase you choose to use. Yet it’s more than Christmas Day. For the second year we are gunning for a Boxing Day party. Last year we had invited some thirty people, but when we woke up on the morning of the 26th we took one look at the weather forecast and decided that we ought to tell those guests to stay at home. Notwithstanding, Messrs Fred and Bob showed up mid-afternoon, brushed a few inches of snow off their shoulders and declared, “It’s just a flurry!” They left three hours later, full and (very) happy.

No, this year’s intended party is bigger, and given both the benign weather forecast and the response to the invitations, it is live and huge. We expect over fifty people. I can’t wait! My cook and catering alter ego is already taking over. There is a battle plan, and it will be so much fun. I will write about the food in a later post.

With twenty-four hours to go until Christmas Eve, and the beginning of the princess of festivals (Easter being the Queen) I am personally content and spiritually happy about this celebration. Yet I have two subjects about which, before this season of goodwill truly kicks in, I wish to sound off.

The first is Christmas cards, and to be precise, photo-cards. Once upon a time I resisted these, thinking that they were too secular. But I have mellowed and adapted, and have grown to appreciate them. As a family we now embrace this form of Yuletide greeting. But! And it’s a serious “but” or objection. To all of those people who create and send these cards: May we please see a photo of all the family. Please? Christmas is not about our children but rather about all of us as a family.

My second bugaboo, which oscillates between irritation and actually being rather cross, is the class of clergy who, on Facebook or other social media, complain of being busy, even over-worked at Christmas. Those posts about the number of services, the production of service bulletins, and the “Oh! I can’t wait until Christmas afternoon, etc.”

Guess what, guys? Don’t be so bloody pathetic. It’s not only what we do – it’s what we are called to do. I may write and sound like an old ordained fart, but I still recall my curacy, twenty five years ago, and the twenty-plus services over three days, bringing carols and sacramental grace to old and young, churched and un-churched. Stop bleating and start posting stuff that doesn’t draw attention to you! No one, in the real world, is in the least bit interested!

Now, about this coming party…

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