So, you’re a Music Minister … and it’s December. I actually snickered out loud while writing that statement! I offer you my condolences and my congratulations! If we were all sitting around a table right now, there would be many shared smiles, yawns, and encouraging phrases offered, such as: “Hang in there! How many more rehearsals? When’s your last performance of the season? Praying for you!” As music ministers, we’ve ALL been caught up in the Christmas machine at some point. If December were a musical work, we might title it “Presto,” with the descriptors of con moto or molto accel. It comes with the territory, though, and we somehow enjoy our crazy! I won’t use up any internet real estate encouraging you to slow down. That’s the same sermon we all preach to ourselves each year, and you’re probably a better preacher than I am.
But here is a space where I will park for just a minute:
To those of us who call ourselves ministers (and in a broader sense, who among us is NOT?), what if we used this season to….well….minister? Crazy talk, you might say! This is Presto December, after all. However, if social media has made one healthy contribution to the Church, it has been in raising awareness of the dark side of Christmas for hurting people. ‘Tis the season of staggering burdens and brokenness for so many. So, what if we skipped the time spent making and wrapping up 25 dozen cookies for choir members this year, and instead, went to coffee one-on-one with people who might need to know that someone cares? Is there a choir member on the fringe of the group with whom you could share a family dinner? Who are the people who sit by themselves in church? Which families have experienced loss, not just this year, but in years past? Even perfect families are not so perfect if we would take time to really know each other. And that might just be where real ministry starts. Music in the folders, detailed schedules, perfectly planned rehearsals: that’s the JOB. Investing in people, giving our time, carrying burdens: that’s the MINISTRY.
I have learned a few things in this area over the years:
1. A person can simultaneously experience the miracle of Christmas AND deep grief. Peace and pain can coexist. Faith and paralysis are not mutually exclusive. Struggling with Christmas doesn’t equal struggling with Christ. This is not necessarily a spiritual battle for which someone needs to claim victory.
2. Hurting people don’t really need one more Christmas party to attend- they need you. They need the Christ in you. And while they might appreciate the gesture of a dozen cookies dropped off on their doorstep, a listening ear and a servant’s heart will go miles further in soothing a bruised soul this Christmas.
Broken people are everywhere, and they are people we know. Our choirs and congregations are full of them. What if we all intentionally ministered during this Christmas season? And here’s some more crazy talk, but what if we just ministered all the time? I pray God’s blessing on each of you as you feed His sheep during this very special time of year.