worship and celebration (on the 4th day of Christmas)

pic from church - playing with Tim
Getting my celebration on at WFPC (image by Tyler Joyner)

Ah, it’s the Sunday after Christmas. Also known as Low Sunday (much like the Sunday after Easter). It’s called low Sunday because  – at most North American churches – more than half the people who typically show up are M.I.A. Consequently, here in Wake Forest, we should expect worship attendance to run somewhere south of 200.

(Today is also – according to my friend pastor Tim Black – known as National Associate Pastor’s Sunday!)

I understand that many folk are traveling. I also “get” that out-of-town guests, logistics, and comings and goings make this time of year anything but “normal.” Plus it hasn’t escaped my attention that sheer exhaustion can be a genuine factor in a week where so many people worked so very hard to pull off the amazing experiences close to 1,000 people enjoyed here at WFPC on Christmas Eve.

However, it’s Sunday morning. And I for one can’t imagine being anywhere other than at church, in worship, and celebrating the “Fourth Day of Christmas” with my community of faith. Consequently, I’m expecting to worship in a sanctuary filled with life and enthusiasm.

THE 12 DAYS: There are several generally accepted meanings attached to each of the numbers in the 12 days. But – and I’m sure you’re not surprised – this year I’m thinking of them in my own way.

  • Christmas Day we received the most incredible of gifts, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism…” – Ephesians 4:5.
  • The Second Day reminds me that the heart of our family is two people, and I am so grateful for Rebekah.
  •  On the Third Day I gave thanks for three churches: Trinity Presbyterian in Pensacola, First Presbyterian in Brandon, and Wake Forest Presbyterian – WFPC – where we currently serve.
  • The Fourth Day represents our children, Andrew, Naomi, Craig, and Alicia. How wonderfully blessed we are!

I’ll try to continue to touch on the 12-days between now and Epiphany, reflecting on how I can’t help but count my blessings – increasingly – from day-to-day.

TODAY: But for today, I have two essential points to share. First, don’t stay away from your church community just because it’s Christmas this week. For me, the coming of love into the world is worth celebrating every single week, without fail.

Second, don’t miss out on the opportunity to celebrate Christmas all 12 days. Here’s my exchange with the cashier at Target, Saturday afternoon:

  • Cashier – “Did you have a nice Christmas?”
  • Me – “Awesome, thanks. But I’m still having a great Christmas; it’s only the third day!”
  • Cashier – “But Christmas was Thursday…?”
  • Me – “You can’t contain something as wonderful as Christmas in just one day!”

IMG_6865-001I really wasn’t trying to be difficult. I just wanted to remind her of how amazing this gift of “God with us” is, and of how we sell ourselves short if we set it all aside after the gifts have been unwrapped.

Give it a try. Twelve days of celebration, gratitude, excitement, and so much more! You can start by showing up at church. 10:00, in the sanctuary. Wear a loud Christmas sweater or something.

– DEREK

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