The dreaded “D” month is upon us, at least that is the semi-humorous way a good many clergy and church staff look at it. It marks the confluence of three mighty rivers of tradition and custom in a narrow place of churning conflicts. The first river is the secular mid-winter Saturnalia of rampant consumerism, partying and accompanying anxiety that has been with us at least since Roman times. The second river, at least for some Christians, is the four week season of Advent, a season of patient waiting in anticipation of Christ’s coming while we prepare with humble and penitent hearts for the annual celebration of his incarnation. The third river is the activity, some of it quite frantic, to prepare for all the events that will occur in the church: Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols, Formal Teas, Children’s Pageants, Midnight Masses not to mention special events celebrated by our Youth Group, Scouts, AA, AlAnon and other groups that also use the buildings. It seems that it’s also the time for electrical, heating and plumbing goblins to act up. Pastors also know it a season for some of their flock to suffer deep depression, debilitating anxiety, domestic conflict and life threatening physical illnesses. The trick, believe it or not, is to relax and just let it happen knowing that in, with and through these weeks we are gathered to give glory to God’s name and rejoice in the redemption of the world through the incarnation of Word of God in Jesus Christ. Being even more deliberate about setting aside adequate time for silence, conversation with God, reflection and study brings a certain calmness in the midst of chaos that enables one to truly enjoy madness of the season.