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“Let’s keep CHRIST in Christmas! ‘Like’ if you agree.”

I saw this posted on Facebook by someone in my parish who rarely attends worship. Allow me to offer a brief yuletide throttling.

Christmas in our house is different than in most others. Why? Well, because I’m a Lutheran Pastor. On Christmas Eve, I leave for the church at around 1:30 p.m., and after the last of the worship services and the nave and sanctuary are set for the following day’s service and the lights are turned out and everything is locked up, I usually roll into the driveway around 2:00 a.m. I rise a few hours later at 7:00 a.m. and head back to the church by 8:30 to take care of any final details before the 10:00 a.m. Christmas Day service.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I can’t see life being any other way. But Christmas in my house is more precisely devoted to being in the presence of Christ than it involves what most would consider “holiday” festivities. In fact, in the sense of that definition, family festivities outside of the festive holiday worship doesn’t really begin for us until about 1:00 p.m. on Christmas Day. And I must say, my four kids are troopers. They wait so patiently for me to come home before they open presents.

Now, while all of this is unfolding in the pastor’s home, I fear the world is a-changin’, my friends. It would seem that this day and age offers the sole substance of Christmas in so many other homes that merely involves folks coaxing Christmas evening in to visits with friends and families, hors d’oeuvres, and the opening of Christmas gifts. And yet one can only hope that amidst this perfectly acceptable holiday cheer, an abrupt shout will ring out from some mildly cognizant Christian herald in the house, “Oh my! Guys, get your coats and get in the car or we’re going to miss one of the only two services we have time for all year! Remember, we almost didn’t get a seat at the Easter service this year!”

Ah. Merry Christmas.

It makes me think… we absolutely should not click “like” to that zealously popular saying that hovers within the Facebook posts this time of year from all those church friends we never see in church. How about this instead: “Let’s keep MASS in Christmas!”

Now regardless of what Wikipedia may say, the term “Mass” is not peculiar to the Roman Catholics. The term, in general, refers to worship, namely the Sacrament of the Altar. Therefore, Christmas is the reception and subsequent worship of Christ. This happens every Sunday. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that if you don’t have time regularly throughout the year for worship, who really cares that you are so shallowly fighting to impose as a part of the Walmart bagger’s parting words, “Merry Christmas”? I don’t. And I won’t click “like.” In fact, I’m tempted to write “Happy Holidays” in the comments section because that’s apparently the confession of your life, which is a reflection of your faith. And no, the Bible does not say that a believer can exist apart from the worshipping community. That’s stupid. It’s an excuse for lazy bums. If you read the Bible, you’ll see that it actually condemns it, and quite harshly. (Among a gazillion illustrations, see for example Hebrews 10:24-31 for starters).

But most of you didn’t come here for a sermon, and so who the heck cares about any of this and how does this meet up with the Tullibardine 20 year old? Well, being that it is Christmas Eve, and as previously mentioned, I will be at the church for a while tonight, my annual habitus in this has been to take a few fine whiskies with me to enjoy and to share with others, namely my Kantor and Deacon during the quiet time between the later services. Of course, if any of the faithful Elders (or anyone else for that matter) remains for a double duty, they will share in the spoils for sure. ‘Tis true the liturgical call: “The holy things for the holy ones!”

At this point, I pray thee allow my throttling to transverse toward describing precisely what the faithful will receive.

The nose of this particular edition of the Tullibardine is quite splendid. In particular, I received the distinct scent of warm oatmeal with honey. The palate enjoyed the same, and yet added a very thick caressing of something sweet, like caramel almonds with a dash of cinnamon. The finish, like the nose, is warm and sweet, leaving behind a sense of spiced apple pie with a very dry but delicious crust.

Go to church tonight, folks, and I promise I’ll not only share the Gospel, but I will share this perfectly divine ChristMASS whisky.

To those who have other things to do, well… Happy holidays.