Monday, December 20, 2010

Living with Tradition

This morning, on this day which is usually my day off, I woke up at 7am to go to a personnel committee meeting.  This, after one of the longest and most taxing days in my church year - Living Nativity day.  Let me tell you, I am a happy camper today.  However, I am having quite the productive morning, sorting out all the things that need to get done before Christmas Eve.  Above all, though, I am just glad the Living Nativity is over.

This is a church with a lot of tradition, which is what tends to happen when you've been around for 330 years.  People really get into the traditions around here.  I have been here almost three years, and I think I lost track of how many times people have said, "We've always done it this way" about two years and eleven months ago.  I, on the other hand, have an intellectual appreciation for the concept of tradition, but in point of fact, just don't really "get" most traditions.  I'm more of the "Woohoo, change is fun!  Why do something the same when you can do it differently?" school of thought.

As you might imagine, this causes some issues.  Like when I think that the Living Nativity would be so much cooler if you put in some contemporary versions of carols and the voice of someone who is still living.  What is going on in my brain is, "This would be fun and interesting."  What happens in the minds of many of the members of my church is, "That is the recording I have heard every year for my entire life, my mother is singing in the choir, that's my old pastor's voice, it's barely Christmas without it, and if you change it, I will never trust you again."  It's taken me a long time in ministry to realize this - that it's really about people trusting that I care about their values, and thus about them; that while my version may be cooler, theirs is rooted in the community where they've been nurtured.

Sometimes I'm kind of slow at these things.

Anyway, I no longer hate the Living Nativity, but I am still glad it's over for another year.  It is a LOT of work.  And speaking of a lot of work, there is this holiday coming up at the end of the week for which I must prepare.  No rest for the weary.      

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