Be Watchful !
As we continue to Be Watchful during this Advent Season, including our watching the things Deacon Pat mentioned in his homily last weekend as we continue preparing our Christmas attitude. One would hope our Christmas attitude is not all that much different than the rest of the year, but we know sometimes we can get a little stressed and the joy of season seems to get hidden away.
As recently reinforced by our Parish Assessment Process Transfiguration is known for its welcoming attitude of hospitality; which I certainly heard about long before I came to this community in 2002. With this in mind I offer you this reflection entitled, “You're in My Pew...”, it has no particular author and over the years I have changed and added to it, but it certainly touches on some important topics as we plan for our celebration of Jesus’ birth.
Let’s plan a party. Maybe a better word would be a celebration? Let’s welcome everyone in Pittsford and beyond to join us for the celebration of Christmas. Let’s make it a total GIFT to everyone. We’re going to need everyone’s help to make this a proper celebration.
So how shall we get ready?
- Music? Sue, are the choirs ready? Check
- Church decoration? Beautiful. Check.
- Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters, Coordinators, Altar Servers, Ready? Check
- Fr. Mike, do you have something to say for the homily? Check. (We hope!)
Now, I have to ask you this. How about you? Are you ready to help welcome over 2,000 people to our Christmas Masses? This is our home. These are our welcomed and honored guests. Everyone at Transfiguration needs you to be ready to host this great event. What’s your role? You are the Minister of Hospitality. Sooooooo . . . here is a check list for all of us as we plan to fill our role and live the attitude of hospitality that Transfiguration has been known for 35 years.
What to do:
- “Merry Christmas!” is totally appropriate before Mass begins. Say it to everyone, not just your family.
- Expect total strangers to be sitting all around you. Think of them as your cousins whom you’ve not seen for a while. Let them know somehow how glad you are for their being there. Compliments before and after Mass . . . “Oh, your children look wonderful! What a nice family you have.” Or, more general, “That coat! Did Christmas come early for you?” . . . you’ll think of something.
- Give up on sitting for Mass. That’s right, let someone take your seat, a Christmas gift to a total stranger. It’s what we do.
- Expect things to be a little different than a usual Sunday at Transfiguration. More people (yea!), more congestion, more standing, more of everything. It’s Christmas!
- Be the face of Transfiguration for those around you. Your smile, your handshake, your readiness to give up your pew, your singing, are all part of the gift this parish wants to be for those who join us that day. Who knows what your kindness might begin in them.
What not to do:
- Glare at people whose children are fussing and cranky. Many of you have been there.
- “You’re sitting in my pew,” is not the way we want to welcome people. + Make people climb over you so you can keep the aisle seat, move in! It’s a gracious way of saying, “glad you are here.”
- Roll your eyes when people talking bothers you.
- Feel offended when someone doesn’t know when to sit or stand at Mass.
- Leave church right after you receive Holy Communion or chew the host in the parking lot. Stay with us.
- Be in a hurry to get out of the parking lot. It’s Christmas! Take your time. Enjoy even the inconveniences of the day.
So ready, set, here we go!
I fully realize some of these thoughts may appear silly or may be saying “I can’t believe people would act that way”, be assured after 39 years in ministry I believe all things are possible. Thanks for your many acts of kindness and welcome.
Be Watchful as you continue your spiritual journey during this Advent Season.
Please continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,