Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas at Home

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and then Sunday we begin Advent

I hope you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

I invite you to come to Messiah to celebrate the beginning of advent:

What is Advent?

As we begin the Christian year, we also celebrate the holy season known as Advent. It is a time when we prepare ourselves for the coming of our Messiah. Advent means "coming." We celebrate these days of Advent in expectation and preparation for Christ's arrival.

Through the centuries, Christians have observed a time of waiting and expectation before celebrating the birth of the Savior at Christmas. The Advent season is a time for reflection and preparation, but its mood is joyful. Advent has been enriched by Christian tradition to reflect its distinctive Christian meaning. It proclaims the revelation of God's love as expressed in Christ's birth in a humble stable, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His victorious resurrection! It points to the hope of Christ's coming again as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Advent makes innkeepers out of all of us, asking each of us to make room for the arrival of Christ the King. Let us, prepare room for Christ in our hearts, our lives, and our homes!

We offer Christmas at Home at Messiah -an afternoon filled with ways to prepare for Christmas!

From 3-5 We’ll have Advent Workshops (gingerbread houses, snippets, gum drop tress, advent wreathes, etc.) followed by our crock pot pot-luck!

Bring something in the crock pot to share or bring a yummy dessert!

Come then to worship with our Hanging of the Greens and prepare the church and your heart for Christmas!

Afterwards, we’ll enjoy hot cocoa and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas!"

Below are some pictures of Christmas at Home last year at Messiah! I hope you'll be able to join us this year!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Journey

A simple girl

An ordinary man

An unforgettable destination

The Journey

Christmas! We know all about this wonderful season- we have bumper stickers, t-shirts, Christmas sweaters, wreaths, and decorations. The house becomes prepared with delightful smells, joyful music, and the colors of red and green abound! We know about Christmas! The story has been told and retold, we’ve read the story, seen the movie, and watched pageants of children in shepherd bathrobes, “yet, its very familiarity may keep us from fully grasping its riches.” Adam Hamilton shares this powerful sentiment at the beginning of his book “The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem.

Beginning next Sunday, Messiah will offer a five-week sermon series and study you won’t want to miss where we will journey to Bethlehem from Nazareth in the footsteps of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and others, gaining insight into our own journeys with Christ. Whether you are a long-time Christian or simply curious about the story of Christmas, you are invited to join us on this inspiring journey.

Someone once said to me, “I don’t need to go to church- I’ve heard the stories, I’ve read the bible… I know it. I don’t need someone to tell me what I already know every Sunday.”

I may have faith, and I may be familiar with the stories of the bible, but God’s word is a living word, my life is ever-changing, the world is in constant motion, and God has more for me to learn, understand, grow, and do. I need to come and hear and be on this journey.

Every advent we travel to find a child born in a manger for us. This advent, we explore this journey deeper, aware that there is so much more God has in store for us. We invite Christ by singing, “O come, O Come Emanuel” and Christ invites us come to a little town called Bethlehem. Join us on this journey as we begin advent. Let us journey together to Christ!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Turning off....

Up at 4ish after a child wet the bed.
Snoozed with said child till 6.
Church by 7:15 -- all of us.

Amazing Day! Food Pounding-- We have tons and tons of food brought by everyone for families in our area in need of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas Shoeboxes were collected, College Care packages were sent out. Nothing But Nets collected money.
We sorted all the food after church- This year the girls were old enough to help, but I truly felt worried we wouldn't make it through when I got them from the nursery at 12:10... they were melting down!
There is a sorting party in the sanctuary, I told the girls! We're invited to help! :)
They had a blast! It was so awesome to see Sophia- 3- excitedly taking stuffing, potatoes, canned goods, soup,and other groceries. I helped her up and down the stairs, found food for her and together we sorted. Gracie (4) went right to work and seemed to know just what to do. A 6 year old handed Sophia some food to deliver to its correct place and Sophia said, "Mommy, that was so nice!"

We waited to get the name of our family we would deliver to. We got a family with a 6 and 4 year old girl! Gracie was very excited about this! We packed a full bag for each person in the family, one set for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. Lots of food was there- veggies, fruit, pie crust, filling, yams, marshmellows, gravy, ....soups, pasta, sauce, rice, potatoes, pancakes, syrup, cereal, oatmeal--- everything for Thanksgiving and everything for every day

We picked up our turkey, milk, and bag of fresh produce. And off we went to meet our family! Gracie played with the girls instantly and the Dad from the family helped me unload the car while Kevin entertained Sophia who was half asleep. Grace and I, the Mom and Dad and two girls and I prayed together. It was so wonderful. I wished I spoke Spanish- the Holy Spirit interceded and prayed with, for, and through us.

Home- Sophia and Kevin napped, Gracie watched a show...and I worked on prepping for Disciple Bible Study.

Fixed Dinner- Fed Kids. Walked them with the help of our "adopted grandma"/ nursery worker- to the nursery.

Amazing Disciple 2 Class- Talking about what it means to wait for the Lord, trust, and have patience like Joseph! Before we focused on the study- we ordered ourselves for ministry to the Hypothermia Rotating Shelter-- We're giving each guest Christmas gifts (20 guests) a $45 payless gift card (for good shoes), the Prayer Shawl knitters/crocheters of the church are making hats for the guests, one wonderful person in the class offered to make gift card holders, we are going to give inspirational little books along with our gifts. We'll be keeping their heads warm, feet warm, and hearts warm too.

Kevin texted to me to have someone walk home with me b/c there was a weird guy outside in the parking lot... Thankful for the fellows who made sure I got through the dark parking lot safely!

Home and cannot shake conversations from Disciple 2, the day, thoughts about church, vision for church universal, UMC, and all the places and ways God is leading the church and me.

It is hard to shut all of that down....

I'm also thinking about the visit I need to make for someone having triple by pass surgery... thinking about the Thanksgiving Eve Service I need to work on, thinking about the Hanging of the Greens Service for Saturday evening. Calling folks who are going to read and participate... Hoping that folks signed up for the Crock Pot Pot-Luck Saturday before the worship service (We have Christmas at Home: advent workshops, crock pot potluck, hanging of the greens service, and watching the Charlie Brown Christmas movie).
I'm thinking about updating the new 20Something class email list... and our new study. Their questions, vibrance, the way they inspire me...

There is so much- so much in my head and my heart.... and my feet are aching and my brain is like a ricocheting ideas and heart is overwhelmed with joy and gratitude...

It is so hard to slow all that down and know I can stop....
There is so much to do and plan and prepare and process...

And yet I need rest and I need to stop and I need for a moment to not be planning and preparing and processing-- sometimes I just need to be. Sometimes I do not need to be multitasking.... and going, going, going....

Lord, help me, even the midst of such overwhelming joy, even when everything is good and worthy, and exciting... to calm down and to stop.... to rest in you. To honor you and the life, body, mind and soul you have given me-- but giving me- part of your creation-- time to be renewed. Amen.

Setting my mind on the Spirit

 It's the first week of Lent.  I decided I wanted to write and reflect more for Lent.   Years ago-- I wrote on this blog more often and ...