The Christmas Edition of Reflections of a Pandemic Pastor

It’s been awhile since I last wrote … almost three months to be exact.

Why?

I’ve been busy and tired. As well, I haven’t felt the desire to write anything more than the weekly sermon and a few long-winded Facebook posts in a while. It’s not that my passion for writing has faded. It is just what can I say or add to the conversation that would be helpful in this time.

As we approach Christmas, this special day in the life of the church where we celebrate the incarnation of Christ, I am mindful of how much I need hope. This has been an exhausting year, we all know that, but for me one that has required every bit of energy and perspective that I have.

To be fair, I’m spent from the conversations around keeping people safe during the pandemic, the social climate we find ourselves in following the election, and trying to make sure the church stays afloat. This has been the most stressful season of ministry that I can recall. It will not end soon, which has me yearning for a nice winter’s nap of a vacation once I proclaim the benediction during our Christmas Eve in the Parking Lot worship (a nice plug for our 3 p.m., service at Pea Ridge UMC in Huntington, WV). I’ll take some time to recharge, read, and spend with my family at home.

I’ll get ready for what will come in 2021, which has me preparing my soul for another stressful year in the church. In the coming year, especially in my tradition of the United Methodist Church, we will walk into a potential schism that will alter the shape of the denomination moving forward. This will put an emotional and physical strain upon pastors and leaders many of whom are already tired from 2020.

My hope is to finish the year strong. That means keeping the focus on Christ in worship. It means having some fun to brighten people’s souls. It also means looking ahead with hope to better days, even as we know the coming year may prove to be just as challenging and complex.

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