Fox Chapel area pastors say slow down, enjoy holidays
With the holiday rush reaching its peak this week, local pastors are reminding residents to exhale.
The expectation of perfection is too much to bear, said the Rev. Connie Hughes, interim pastor at Christ Church Fox Chapel.
“We want to have the perfect gift, the Martha Stewart décor, and the pressure builds,” said Hughes, who worked as a counselor before being ordained.
“I'm very aware of how hard a season this is for many people,” she said. “The expectations that we carry contrast sharply with issues of estrangement and loss that rear their ugly head this time of year.”
Hughes advises people to first realize that their feelings are appropriate and then let themselves off the hook so they're able to enjoy.
“There were some real dark realities the first Christmas too and things worked out,” she said.
Leave the hustle and bustle behind, said Chris Taylor, senior minister at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church in Fox Chapel.
“The season is about the call to peace and to be peacemakers,” he said.
Taylor reminds people that this season, and throughout the year, the willingness “to come underneath others” is what matters, “not lording over them.”
“We should seek to serve,” he said.
The Rev. Michael Decewicz, pastor at St. Juan Diego Parish in Sharpsburg, encourages parishioners not to get caught up in tangible preparations but instead be in tune to the journey through Advent.
“It invites us to take advantage of the time of waiting to prepare ourselves to welcome a new Christ in our midst,” he said. “It challenges us to be honest with ourselves and truly open to be receptive to the love and presence of Jesus.”
Decewicz suggests that leaving behind the anxiety of shopping, baking and decorating allows an open space “where Christ can dwell.”
The Rev. Joe Keenan, pastor at Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Parish in Blawnox, said he also is trying to urge people to slow down this holiday season and leave the commercial trappings behind.
In his sermons each week leading to Christmas, Keenan tells people to appreciate the joy and peace that are the true meaning of the season, he said.
“I want their hearts to be open to the fulfillment of the kept promise by our God,” he said. “That is, he has given us his son.”
Further, Keenan asks parishioners to carry that thought so “that the Lord is part of who they are.
“That is the gift that God gives us at Christmas.”
Hughes said she preaches acceptance to her parishioners and that there is no better example than the first Christmas. Typically, she said, the birth of a king comes with fanfare and rituals.
“Jesus' birth wasn't like that at all. It was shepherds and angels that came to see him,” she said. “We need to remember that. It's good to know that with every challenge in Christmas, you know God is with you.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fox Chapel Area senior sets sights on Germany
- Longtime crossing guard leaves lasting impression on Fox Chapel students, parents
- Female robotics team to bring science-related projects to Cooper-Siegle library in Fox Chapel
- Love of flying leads Aspinwall pilot to position with Boeing
- Webcam offers footage of Fox Chapel Area High School construction
- Cleaning up entire town discussed by Blawnox officials