Lighting the Candle of Love

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When God came to us, God came unexpectedly and unassumingly amid the routines of everyday life. When God came to us, God came quietly and humbly in the lives of ordinary people who were facing difficult times. When God came to us, God came beautifully and wondrously in the life of a little baby. Some people saw God’s coming to our world, but many people missed it. It is the same way today. In difficult times and in uncertain days it can be easy to miss God’s presence in the world around us. Yet, just as God came to us in Jesus, God continues to come to our world in the ones who love us no matter what and who stand by our side regardless of what life throws our way. You see, Jesus is the one who loved so many, who loved so much, who loved so fully and who loved so often, that it became clear – as clear as a cold, star-filled Christmas night – that everyone is the most important person to God.

This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Kaylin, Kimala, Olivia, Madigan and Zoe Gray and Bobby and Judy Lynn will light the Advent Candle of Love. Love came down at Christmas. And love continues to come down at Christmas as we allow the beautiful Christmas story to come alive in our lives.

As part of worship we will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of our Labyrinth. Be sure to join us as we give thanks for this special space where we can come and release all that binds us, where we can receive the gift of God’s companionship and where we can return to our life journey having been blessed by our holy walk on the labyrinth. Our former Pastor Trevor Potter will be with us. Why not invite a friend to join you this Sunday?

This week Lisa Dilling and Diane Schwemm offer us Advent reflections. What is enough for you and me? How do we move farther in the direction of belief? I think you should read Lisa and Diane’s words over and over again.

I look forward to seeing you soon. Please keep our beloved church in your prayers. I remember you in mine.

Please keep our beloved church in your prayers. I remember you in mine.

With love,
Pat

This Sunday, December 18th, is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Pat’s message will be “The Angels Came to Town Long Before Santa” based on Luke 1:26-38. As part of worship this week we will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of our Labyrinth. Our former pastor Trevor Potter will be with us.

On Sunday December 23rd at 7:00 pm 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
11:00 pm: Candlelight Communion Service

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.

See you Sunday.

Meditation
Fourth Sunday of Advent, Dec. 18, 2011

What if we come afresh to the story of Luke 1:26-38? Let it stand alone, like a poem. In contrast to the preceding passage about Elizabeth and Zechariah, the narrative is straightforward and unadorned. The all-important pregnancy is almost a sideshow. It’s not yet Jesus’ story. We see, simply, a girl named Mary. We learn she is from Nazareth and betrothed to a man named Joseph but nothing more. In Matthew’s gospel, the angel speaks to Joseph, and Mary does seem merely a vessel, but in Luke she is the one who hears, feels, responds. Mary has an encounter (unmediated by father, husband, priest) with a message from God. God has a wondrous but daunting blessing and expectation for her, and she (understandably) has questions and qualms, but the angel asks her to believe that nothing is impossible with God and she does. Can we do this? Are we ready to listen, to allow ourselves to be chosen, to move from “How can this be? But I’m not…” to “I am…”? Can we believe?

~Diane Schwemm

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Meditation on “Enough”

The September/October 2011 issue of Alive Now challenges us to contemplate what “enough” means. I think this is especially important at this time of year, so here is something I wrote as a reflection.

The anxiety of a mid-December brain

Shopping and cooking and planning galore
Concerts and parties and can drives and more
Anticipation, exhaustion, frustration emerge
As Christmas, vacation, and year’s end converge
How many ‘shoulds’ circle ’round in our heads
Where only sugarplums could dance instead?
Can we learn to say no, enough is enough?
We, and our families, don’t need more stuff
Can we learn to create space this season
Rather than lose our perspective and reason?
When tempers fray and the day is a wreck
‘Tis a sign we must stop, take a breath, and reflect
How much is enough? What can we let go?
We are enough. I am enough. It can all be let go.

~ Lisa Dilling