We had the annual Waco District Christmas Dinner last night. We hosted, as we have for many years, here at Methodist Children’s Home. Dinner was delicious.
For conversation starters, these two questions were assigned to each table to talk about over dinner:
- What was your wackiest Christmas ever?
- What was your most spiritual Christmas ever?
I had trouble answering both questions. I had ths difficulty mostly because for almost 20 years now, Christmas has been, for me, mostly about work. I remember being just a couple of years out of seminary being in the midst of all the advent programming as a member of the staff at a large church. On one particular walk from one part of the building to another, I caught myself thinking, literally, “I hate Christmas.”
Well, of course, I didn’t, and don’t, hate Christmas. I’ve had Christmases I would rather not remember. There have been some I can’t remember simply because they don’t stand out from others. More often than not, I have had moments during each Christmas season that I have enjoyed deeply.
Here’s my problem: it is my job to lead people toward worship and the experience of the coming of the Christ during Advent. Sometimes I go more or less onto autopilot to do so. But I know that I lead best when I lead somewhere I am actually going.
I don’t want to lead anyone to the poni that they think to themselves or others “I hate Christmas.”
So, I lead in a certain direction whether I feel it or not. When I feel it, leading comes easier. When I don’t feel it, I focus on the truth that God is bigger and deeper than my feelings.
What do you other leaders-in-worship do when you don’t feel the authenticity from which you know you do your best leading?
For those of you who don’t lead in worship, are you aware, during services, of the feelings of those who do? If so, do you notice a difference if they are leading from passion or from duty?