By Pastor Ron Aulbach, BridgeWay Community Church
An online survey listed all the qualities that people expect from ‘perfect’ pastors: They preach for exactly twelve minutes. They are twenty-eight years old, but have been preaching for thirty years. They work from 8 am until midnight every day, but are also home for their family. They frequently condemn sin, but never upset anyone. They wear good clothes, buy good books, drive a good car, give generously to the poor and have a low salary. They make fifteen daily calls to parish families, visit the housebound and the hospitalized, spend all their time evangelizing the un-churched and are always in the office when they are needed. Of course, we all know there is no such thing as a perfect pastor. There’s no perfect church and there’s no perfect church members. And, that should give us great reason to relax this Christmas
With the Christmas season here, there can be all sorts of unrealistic expectations that we place on ourselves and the people around us. There is something about this time of year that makes people a bit crazy to get everything dialed in for the perfect Christmas. Do you ever say things like “I want this to be the best Christmas ever!” We want the right decorations to set the stage for our guests and gatherings. We race from store to store, from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in search of the best deals. We ask family members to swap names and purchase presents even though they already have everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, giving gifts and spending time with my family but even I can get caught up in the rat race. No one is immune to losing the focus, the real meaning of Christmas, and end up overwhelmed. The birth of Jesus is more than just a reminder of what the real meaning of Christmas is, it IS the meaning of Christmas.
Samuel reminded the people that every moment is a chance to give thanks for what God has done to get you to this point. “So far God, you’ve never let me down, you’ve never left me. So far, so God!” Samuel set up a stone of remembrance and reminded the people “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). This month, when you begin to grip the wheel of trying to make things perfect, and feel overwhelmed when it’s not, call on the one who delights in helping you.