4 December 2014

The Clergy Family Christmas

As the Christmas season is upon us, responses to the study have slowed down. Not surprising, with the busy lives that clergy families lead at this time of the year, but I wanted to take a moment to consider the traditional Clergy Family Christmas - with all the trimmings.

I found a great article written by the Herald Sun "After Church: How Clergy Spend Christmas". It talks about the hospital visits, the shared meals with church members, the many extra services to mark the important dates on the calendar, and the fine balance between family and church expectations at this particularly important time of the year.

Some clergy families are quite clever with how they celebrate Christmas! One clergy couple does a '12 days of Christmas' on the days leading up to the day instead of a big meal and presents. Genius! Another clergy family sets Christmas up at their in-laws place with their children the night before and the clergy parent meets them after the Christmas day services for festivites.

Of course there are the hard stories too. One clergy spouses' story ("The Clergy Wife Before Christmas: Once Again") talks about church as another person who takes up a lot of quality family time at Christmas. One clergy mum explains the annual Christmas crisis that means her children to sacrifice personal time with her (and sometimes their toys) to help keep church events running smoothly. Many clergy spouses stay up alone, well past the midnight services, to wrap presents and prepare the Christmas lunch (often for church members as well as their own families), and clergy workers are frequently too exhausted after running multiple services over the Christmas period (in some cases up to 10!) that they run out of energy for their own festivites. Not easy stories but in summary it seems that the everyday pressures that rest on clergy families are tripled in the Christmas season which leads to family resentment, burnout and complete exhaustion.

So to finish this note about Christmas, I want to personally say to clergy families: 

For your dedication and hard work (and the times when PKs gave up their toys for church events!). For the sacrifices you make to ensure that Christmas services run smoothly and are Jesus-focused despite your own weariness (and how many times you sing the same carols!). For all the hours of sleep and family time they miss out on, even on the day. And for doing all these things with little thanks or financial reward. It is greatly appreciated.


On a final note, if you're looking for some ideas that might encourage or lift up a clergy worker and their family, have a peek at the following great resources!
8 Top Christmas Gifts For Pastors, Preachers or Clergy
What To Give and What Not To Give Your Pastor For Christmas

~ Rachel