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Tag: Christmas

December 28, 2017

Now the Work of Christmas Begins

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

– Howard Thurman

 

December 25. It’s a lot of build up to one day.

But when we read the origin story, the birth of Jesus, we see that the story continues beyond that one day. The visit by the shepherds, the gifts from the Magi and the escape to Egypt happen after the birth.

Perhaps my favorite part of the story comes when Mary and Joseph take the week-old baby Jesus to the temple for dedication (Luke 2:21-22). At the temple they meet Anna and Simeon, who recognize Jesus as the savior they have been waiting for. The story suggests they had been waiting a very long time. When he holds the baby Jesus in his arms, Simeon essentially says, “I can now die happy.”

Now that our waiting for Advent is over and Christmas has come, our real work begins, the real work we have been longing for: restoration and reconciliation.

Howard Thurman was an African American poet, a preacher, a civil rights leader and a theologian of liberation. His writings helped Christian activists draw strength from the gospel story. It is true that the work of Christmas for people of faith has just begun, but really it never ended. We begin again each day with renewed strength to work towards an end of suffering and ensure the work of reconciliation. So stay calm and carry on—it’s still Christmas!

– The Reverend Erika Funk

December 21, 2017

Here’s my Advent confession: I struggle with all of our church talk about “getting ready” and “being prepared for the Christ Child” in this season.

The truth is that most of things I’ve done to be “ready” over the past few weeks have been about being ready for December 25 and not so much about being ready for Jesus. I’ve sent Christmas cards, driven across town and back in search of the perfect gift (and eventually just any gift) for the people on my list, attended parties, and decorated my home. But none of that really has anything to do with Jesus and his Gospel of hope, peace, joy, and love, and, quite honestly, I think Jesus shook his head at me when I made my gazillionth trip to Target for “just one more thing” last week.

Besides, how exactly do we know if we’re ready for God’s grand entrance into the world? And even if we think we are ready, how can we know for sure? Can anyone really be ready for Jesus?

Maybe someone can, but I’m not that person. So I find great comfort in Madeleine L’Engle’s poem First Coming. I’m grateful for the reminder that God is coming into the world whether we are ready or not. Most of all, I’m grateful that God’s love for this world isn’t contingent upon our being ready to receive it.

God did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
God came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

God did not wait for the perfect time.
God came when the need was deep and great.
God dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.

God did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

God came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
God came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

– “First Coming” by Madeleine L’Engle

~Katelyn Gordon Cooke

December 1, 2017

Join us on Sunday, December 24, for Christmas Eve worship

9 a.m. Worship This service is open to everyone and is particularly suited for children.

11 a.m. Worship

8 p.m. Candlelight Service

10:15 p.m. Handbell Concert (Wood Fellowship Hall)

11 p.m. Candlelight and Communion Service

*All services are in the sanctuary unless otherwise noted. Childcare for birth-TK will be provided during each service; please register here.

December 20, 2016

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