Saturday, December 11, 2004

Hectic holidays and pastoral ministry

It's the end of the semester at seminary (and at the school where I teach), which means it's the season of exhaustion. It is also, incidentally, the Christmas season-- a fact that is both a joy and a dismay to me this year.

I love Christmas. I love celebrating it with my wife: forging new traditions, crafting creative gift ideas, and relishing holiday food. In the years since we've been married (and for years before, but not to the same degree), I have found Christmas to be one of the best times of the year for us. I know that others don't find it this way, but it is for me/us.

Last year and this one, however, I have been too exhausted and swamped with work to really enjoy it.

As I sit here now, having been up until 3am several nights this week working on assignments, with more than 20 pages of writing yet to do, an exam to take, and a foot-tall stack of papers to grade, I am not enjoying the holiday season right now.

I wonder if it will be different next year: will pastoral ministry bring a holiday season of being swamped? Will I have more time for my family and our traditions? Will I be consumed with pastoral needs, preparation for special services and events, and the busyness of a church holiday?

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