Pentecost 9 Blog


It’s a Long Way to Christmas

Churches that follow the “church year” calendar celebrate seasons like Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Most of these seasons are short. Christmas is twelve days. Lent is forty days. But Pentecost seems to go on and on. It lasts from the end of the Easter season, which is fifty days after Easter Sunday, all the way to Advent. That is a full half year long. Pentecost aligns nicely with our natural seasons of planting, growing, and harvesting.

We are now in the ninth week of Pentecost. About one third of the way. During this season, our scripture readings usually offer reflections on how we can grow in our faith as Christian people. For example, this year we have a long parade of parables from the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus tells us about the kingdom of God and the work of faithful people.

It is a long way to Christmas, but aren’t we all surprised, once again, by how quickly our summer has gone? Before we know it, school will have started (even if in a strange configuration this year) and harvest will come.

As we look to the fall and the end of the year, we are all filled with uncertainty about what church will look like. How do we do confirmation and Sunday School during the pandemic? How will Todd lead a youth group that cannot meet together? How will we celebrate Thanksgiving? Will we even have to decorate the church with cornucopias and pumpkins—or poinsettias?

The Wisconsin Council of Churches just released a new report suggesting that churches be very cautious as we think about Advent and Christmas. When we cancelled Easter services in April, I was certain that we would not have to cancel Christmas services. I may have been wrong, though I hope and pray that we can return to worship before then.

I want to thank you all for your patience. But, the longing to be together is stirring in all our hearts. While it is a long way to Christmas, let us pray together that God will bless the efforts of those who do the research that will bring an end to this devilish time of isolation. There are promising experiments. May they be blessed and multiply. That would be the perfect Christmas gift for an aching world. For now, I pray that you are all staying safe and well. Have a blessed Pentecost season.

Clay Schmit