Just about everyone is trying to rage against the capitalist machine that is Christmas in our nation — from the religious (giving presence, not presents), to DIY crafters (and the homemade movement). I’m not entirely sure how successful anyone is being. I’ve managed to (not yet) buy any “thing” for anyone. (I take that back: I bought Farmergirl a magazine subscription, though I’m not sure this particular one counts more as “homeschooling endeavor” than “Christmas gift”). I have managed to make several handspun-handknit items that I won’t write further here about because the recipients may be reading.
Maybe it’s too small a sample to draw this conclusion, but one of the things that I’ve noticed through the project are the memes that seem to cross denominations. We’ve seen this in “unpacking ideas,” and fill-in the blank sermon notes**, and evangelical critiques of liturgical traditions. The theme of this year’s Christmas season has been slowing down, and being present. (As well as two instances of “unpacking” in this particular sermon, plus three “come to Jesus meeting”s and two “pink elephant in the living room”s. This last one I thought was a mixed metaphor, but apparently the pink elephant variation is just an extension of the regular old elephant in the living room (shared secret that no one’s talking about) and not a shared hallucination that no one’s talking about, which was what I was thinking).
The pastor used the story of Mary and Martha to make his case about slowing down and capturing the moment (“sit” (slow down), “listen” (open up), and “choose what is better” (don’t miss the moment)).
* It wasn’t actually “some” UMC church . . . we just got our wires crossed. I’d picked out Convenant UMC, but Michael thought we were going to Spokane Valley UMC . . . and we managed to run the clock down before driving out on the icy roads (with the single digit temperatures), so we went to the Valley, instead of up north, as it was closer.
** This set of fill in the blank sermon notes had an extra item that we hadn’t seen before: an answer key. On the back side of the page, labeled “Answer Key” is the list of what should have been filled into the various blanks.