confession: joy vs. cheer

submitted by the Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.

One: God, you promise joy—
and to fulfill that promise you give us many gifts:
gifts of doing justice, loving mercy,
and bringing good news.
All: But we prefer Christmas cheer.
It’s more fun for less effort.
One: You call us to rejoice—
to live with a joy deeper than cheer or happiness.
More than sparkle and parties, a joy that brings you glory.
All: But we prefer our own glory, our own smiles.
Forgive us, O God, our forced cheer and shallow celebration.
Show us again your way, that we may rejoice in you.
Lead us in your promised path. Amen.

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Sunday’s Coming: working toward December 11

It’s amazing how fast Advent flies by. One minute we’re in the wilderness, the next minute we’re singing praise with two pregnant women. One minute, we’re praying for God to tear open the heavens, the next we’re proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor. Maybe this week you’re contemplating the command to “rejoice always and pray without ceasing.” It is, for some of us, the Sunday when we light the pink candle of joy (and others of us have 4 purple or blue candles, since we can never remember which week is pink!). Perhaps you’ve chosen to save the Magnificat for next week and you’re going with the Psalm and its proclamation of all the great things God has done for us. Is anyone going with a season-long preparation theme, perhaps this week using John and the story of John the Baptizer preparing the way for the light?

So, what are you dreaming about this Advent? Are you conspiring with God, and working that into your worship life? Are you writing all new liturgy this year, or borrowing from a favorite resource (if you are, please share it in the comments!)? Are you following the lectionary, or flitting about in order to fit in special programs? Do you sing Christmas carols before Christmas, have a children’s pageant, or a cantata? What are you up to, and how can we work together for a creative and meaningful Advent liturgy?