How to survive Advent: a guide for church professionals

Exhausted yet? Pastors, church musicians and educators can find the run-up to Christmas even harder than Easter. Christmas has more family obligations than Easter – and we offer more church special events through December.

One year we attended a late Christmas Eve service (our church had an early one). My son fell asleep, and we woke him up to go out. At the door, the pastor said to him, “You look like I feel!” It’s easy to wear yourself out this month.

You can have more energy by December 25. Here are five suggestions for approaching your ministry through these busy weeks:

  1. Say more positive things than you usually do. Instead of complaining about the schedule, say to yourself and others, “I’m excited about our services this year.” This may sound like a gimmick, but your brain truly responds to reinforcement, positive or negative.
  2. Spend more time with happy people. Have coffee or lunch with your happiest colleagues or church members. Take the negative ones less seriously.
  3. See how much fun you can have at church. Even on Sunday the 22nd or Christmas Eve.
  4. Plan a treat for the week after Christmas. Even if you’re working that week, have something to look forward to – tickets to a post-Christmas performance or seeing one of the big holiday movies or a day cross-country skiing.
  5. Look for Christ’s presence. Remember, Advent is for you, too. Pray, breathe, sing. Then read the Advent and Christmas scriptures not only to prepare, but for yourself.

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