When I was a kid, Christmas was a time of forced church attendance and family conflicts with out-of-town relatives. We did not have much, the gifts reflected it, and we did not know enough to be grateful that we got anything at all.
In other words, when Christmas came around every year, my focus was on it being an unhappy holiday. I was not at all concerned with the actual meaning of Christmas—the birth of the Son of God. So, I grew up not liking Christmas much. Then I became a pastor, and it got worse. Maybe that’s you, right now, but in a different way. One too may late nights. One too many critics of the technology. One too may experts on what the church Christmas service should really include. Just one too many….I get it—if you are reading this magazine, you probably are at a church where it takes a lot of work to pull off a Christmas service. As a pastor, I see how hard our team works every week and how much time and effort they put into every last detail.
Hours of work already go into a normal Sunday church service. For many churches, production teams spend exponentially more hours working toward the Christmas services and activities.This time of year is supposed to be about cheer, joy, gifts, family, and a whole host of other warm, fuzzy things—right? But what about when it isn’t? For a church production team, this time of year can be hectic, annoying, tiring, and downright stressful.
Here are three simple ways a stressed out church production team can find joy in the Christmas season when exhaustion and stress take over:
1. Love your church
Part of the situation requires reminding ourselves why we are doing this—for Christ and His church. In this time of stress, it is a great time to actually love our church. Dwell on the memories you’re making for your church. Think of the impact your work has on the people who will walk through the doors. The church production team may not get much credit, but you can and should help people focus on Jesus.
Sure, some will complain, and sometimes it’s hard to love complainers. But children will remember their time in church on Christmas Eve fondly. Parents will look back on great performances and cherish the memories.Your job is important even if some people complain and no one says thank you. A lot of times, working on the production team is like being an offensive lineman on a football team—you never get credit, and you always get blamed.Love your church and the opportunity for the impact you have, even when it seems like no one appreciates you.
2. Kiss your kids
I’d actually do this first, but you are probably pretty busy with church things right now. So, as you are running around working hard, don’t forget your family. Don’t let them think Christmas is the time of year when mom and dad are gone. Some of you may not have kids, and that’s ok, but for those of you who do, take the time to love them.
Chances are, if you’re a mom or dad and you’re on a church production team, the Christmas season is a very busy time. You may not be getting as much time with your kids as you normally do, and we all know that the Christmas season is special for kids. Take some extra time and love your kids in the small amount of time you do get with them these next couple of weeks. Let them see that, although you are busy, they matter most.
3. Look to Jesus
As you pray for your families to focus on Christ, learn to focus on Christ yourself. Looking to Jesus is perhaps most difficult in our busiest times. Remember that while you’re working for your church—setting up the necessary equipment and accouterments, getting the program ready for others—you’re ultimately serving the Son of God, whom your church celebrates.
He is the reason not just for the season, but also for your work. As you see the Nativity scenes, remember that you’re working to glorify that Babe in the manger who grows up, dies on a cross, is raised from the dead, and makes all things new. Look to Him in your times of stress, in your exhaustion, and in your weakness.
As a pastor, and one who works with pastors, I’m thankful for you. As I write this, I think of faces, part of our teams, present and past, who do the work you do—people named Barry, Terry, Kim, Andrea, Travis, and many others.They helped make Christmas what is should be for many others—all about Jesus. Don’t let stress be king—remember that Jesus already has that job. Make much of Jesus this Christmas season.