I love the Christmas hymn Silent Night, Holy Night. Yet, Christmas did not come in silence but rather surrounded by the noise and clutter of life. God gives us Jesus in the midst of life, in the thick of life, in the center of life. This improbable gift came in the ordinary. This unlikely gift came in the everyday. This nearly unfathomable gift came in the midst of day-to-day living. Can we see that this Christmas? Can we feel that this Christmas? Can we open ourselves to that this Christmas? Christmas comes in the midst of life the way it is:
Christmas is as silent as hope in the midst of despair.
Christmas is as silent as joy in the midst of sadness
Christmas is as silent as love in the mist of anger
Christmas is as silent as acceptance in the midst of discrimination
Christmas is as silent as peace in the midst of violence and fear
Christmas is as silent as light in the midst of darkness.
At Christmas God gave voice to the silence. The word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth. At Christmas, God asks us, too, to give voice to that silence. If the things God offers us are to become real – if hope is to become real, if joy is to become real, if acceptance is to become real, if love is to become real, if peace is to become real – if Jesus is to become real – we must not be silent about Christmas. We must give voice to Christmas. We must give voice with our words and our lives. I’m going to try to do that this Christmas. I invite you to do the same.
It is such a delight to celebrate Christmas with you all. I look forward to seeing you soon. Please keep our beloved church in your prayers. I remember you in mine.
>On Friday December 23rd at 7:00pm, we will have a Blue Christmas Service. For many Christmas is not filled with laughter and joy. Rather, some of the days of this season are filled with loneliness, painful memories, sadness and grief. Our Blue Christmas Service offers us a chance to join together in acknowledging the bitter-sweetness of these days.
We will have three Christmas Eve Candlelight Services:
5:00pm – Children-centered Candlelight Service
7:00pm – Candlelight Service featuring our Choir
11:00pm – Candlelight Communion Service
There will be special music before the 5pm and 7pm services so plan to arrive a bit early. Bring all your friends and family. All are always welcome!
And be sure to join us for our 10:30 am Christmas Day worship Service. Pat’s message will be “Did You Get What You Want for Christmas?” based on John 1:1-14. After worship we will have a simple Christmas brunch for anyone who would like to join us. There will be no Sunday School on Christmas Day.
>Quick reminder that between the Christmas Eve services there will be a refreshment/conversation center in the Church Parlor. We are inviting members to bring 2 dozen cookies to share. This will be a wonderful time to greet old friends and meet new people.
>Looking ahead, on Sunday, January 1st, Pat’s New Year’s Day message will be “I’ve Just Got to Lose Weight and Quit Procrastinating” based on Luke 2:22-40. We will celebrate communion and share in John Wesley’s Covenant Renewal Service. John Wesley was the founder of Methodism. Covenant Renewal means renewing our relationship with God, with others, with our own best selves and with all creation. As we begin the New Year, we can make these historic words of renewal both our own affirmation of faith and our heart’s intention for the New Year. It will be wonderful to celebrate New Year’s Day with you.
>There will be no news email this week and no emails at all next week. We will resume the week of January 3rd.
>The deadline for our next quarterly newsletter will be January 10th. Submit your news, event listings and stories of interest (with images!) for February, March and April to:
>Starting in January…W.O.W.!
Wednesdays of Wonder begin January 11th
W.O.W. is an opportunity to connect mid-week, a time for food, fellowship, and learning. We begin with a simple meal at 5:15 pm, and the evening’s study begins at 6:00 pm. We are finished by 7:00 pm. All are invited and welcome!
The Rev. Rosalee Blake will be leading a three-week series titled “Good Grief” beginning at 6:00 pm on 1/11/12. “The worst way to confront death is to fear death; the worst way to confront life is to fear life. Openness to each is a first step.” These words from Malcolm Boyd help us to enter the sometimes-difficult conversation about our own death, or the death of a loved one. Rosalee will share what she has learned about grief from her life experience, and from her work with Agape Hospice, and will remind us that just as the birth process is a sacred time, so is the dying process. Themes for the 3 weeks will include: Hospice 101, The Spiritual Aspects of Dying, and Conversations with the Dying. The discussions will include topics of anticipatory and complicated grief, saying goodbye, and important conversations before death. They will help guide us to more acceptance of death, and to move towards healthy grieving. Bring your own rich experiences of death and dying as we explore this significant time of life. Join Rosalee on January 11th, 18th and 25th for this life-giving series.
>Do you enjoy cooking for others? The W.O.W. (Wednesdays of Wonder) series needs cooks for each meal. If you’d be interested in cooking or helping at W.O.W., either just once or regularly, please contact Fran Saxon at 303.666.9130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
>There is no Sunday school, Adult Forum, or Bible Workbench on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1; everything starts again on Jan. 8th. Youth Group meets Wednesday night, Jan. 4, at 7:00 pm. There is no Sacred Bites on Dec. 26; they resume on Jan. 3.
>The Christmas decorations around the church will be taken down and stored on Sunday, January 8th right after worship. All who would like to help are welcome; many hands make light work!