A Few of my Favorite Things

Puzzler's Corner Blog, Midwest District, DS Margie Crawford Blog

There are only 16 days until Christmas.  And like so many others, I will celebrate our Savior’s birth very differently this year.  A few weeks ago, I requested that pastors and faith communities share ideas about how to celebrate this Advent season, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the New Year, in order to post them on the District website HERE.

I also wanted to offer a few of my favorite ways to commemorate the birth of our Lord and Savior, which I too will be modifying for this year.  I have sung the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah more times than I can count.  I will be listening to it on Spotify and YouTube this year, singing along with the solos I love and doing my best to keep up with the runs the composer created for the chorus.  I still have nightmares about hitting all the notes in And He shall purify and For unto us a child is born.

Amahl and the Night Visitors is a Christmas Opera that was written by Gian-Carlo Menotti.  I have played a shepherd in the opera several times, and now that it is available online, I watch this after Christmas Eve services.   

I have recorded a few of my favorite Christmas stories and will watch them on Christmas Eve.  For me it’s not Christmas without Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Little Drummer Boy, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  And of course, Christmas isn’t Christmas without watching some version of A Christmas Carol. My family’s favorite is Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, which I have already viewed once. 

There are three stories that I usually include in the sermons I have shared during this season.  O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi, A Geese Story (https://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/geesestory.html), and The Tablecloth (https://timburt.org/2019/12/23/the-tablecloth-an-inspirational-christmas-story/).  For me each story captures the wonder of this Holy season.  Could your faith community organize a table read of one of these three stories, or another one that inspires you during this season? On Christmas Eve, could your church participate in a Bible reading of our Savior’s birth?

Here are a few new ways to share the love of Christmas this season.  Create a pony express bag exchange, delivering it to one household, asking whoever is there to remove one of the gifts inside, and place a new gift in the bag before sending it on to the next household. 

There are blank puzzles of varying sizes available from many stores.  Send pieces out to congregants and ask them to decorate the pieces with special messages which commemorate our Lord’s birth.  When we are able to gather in our worship spaces again, have each person bring their piece in to complete the puzzle. 

And I haven’t forgotten the wonderful smells of baking that characterize this season.  In one of the churches I served, the United Methodist Women would create cookie baskets to support shut-ins, and new families in the faith community.  Instead of baking cookies for one another, could we share the recipes and a story about why this is the Christmas cookie we bake each year?

May we discover new ways to celebrate God’s greatest gift to us this Advent season.  And Amen.