A Christmas Story in July

After I read my last post, I realized that it would not be very interesting to those of you who don’t write sermons. So today, I am going to share a true story. This really happened.  So here is a little Christmas cheer in July. Sometimes funny things happen in church and I think that is a good thing. Ann Lamott called laughter “carbonated holiness.” I will post part two of how I write a sermon later.

Sometimes December 25 falls on a Sunday. Most of the churches I have served have two or even three services on Christmas Eve. But when Christmas day happens to be on a Sunday we have worship services again on Sunday morning.

As usual, attendance is pretty low when that happens. We decided to have an informal service. I invited everyone to come to church in their pajamas. One woman said she didn’t wear pajamas. And while that might have improved attendance, she just stayed home.

A woman who was near or beyond 70 asked me if her mother could play the piano during that service.  I thought, “How old must mother be?” But I said yes figuring there wouldn’t be very many people there anyway.

She showed up and she was darling.  The woman helped her mom to the piano and she began to play.  She started out with Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Then she moved into Away in the Manger and Silent Night.  She played in a kind of honky-tonk style, but it was nice. Then she started into a lively version of Jingle Bells which is not a hymn, but what the heck. Then she started to play Santa Baby; honest to God. I am pretty sure that Santa Baby had never been played as part of a worship service before. I could almost hear those old Presbyterians out in the cemetery rolling in their graves.  Someone once said that a Presbyterian was someone who was upset that someone somewhere in the world was having fun. That did not define my congregation there.

The daughter was embarrassed and she told her mom to stop. But it turns out mother was nearly deaf. Her daughter ran up to the piano and yelled into her ear to stop. People were trying not to laugh, but it was too funny to hold it in. It’s OK, mom couldn’t hear the laughter anyway.

Later in the service the 90+ year old woman played a duet with her great-grand daughter. It was lovely and touching. You never know what surprises the Spirit has in store.  People afterward said it was the best Christmas Day service they had ever attended.


Four surgeons were discussing the easiest patients to operate on. The first said it was accountants because everything in them was numbered. The second said it was electricians because every part was color coded. the third surgeon said he thought it was librarians because everything was in alphabetical order. But the fourth surgeon topped them all. He said, “The easiest people to operate on are politicians. There are no guts, no spine, no heart, no brain and the head and the butt are interchangeable.”