Thanks to all of you, St. John’s United Church of Harmony, for voting to call me as your pastor. Carol and I are grateful for all the ways you have welcomed us and adopted us into your faith family. It is a privilege to serve you and together to serve God in this time and place.
We enjoyed a thanksgiving feast together on November 10th, with thanks for the incredible amount and variety of food that was spread before us. Thank you to our cooks and servers that made it all go deliciously smoothly. It was a great precursor to the many family gatherings that will take place on this thanksgiving weekend. As we gather in thankfulness, may we remember all those who are less fortunate, the hungry and homeless, those displaced by fires and floods, and those for whom this is a difficult family time.
Next Sunday begins Advent and the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. We will decorate the church with hanging the greens. We will hear familiar scriptures, sing familiar carols and take this journey together, arriving at a manger in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Christ.
It is a hectic month filled with parties and presents, shopping and preparing for the many gatherings that take place. It is a warm and welcome time to celebrate with family and friends. In our busy schedules it can be easy to forget the reason for the season. Realizing some stores had Christmas decorations up and promotions in place even before Thanksgiving, and some even before Halloween, reminds us of the commercial focus of Christmas.
Maybe it’s time to refocus and remind ourselves of the reason for this celebration, the baby Jesus, God in tiny human form. Maybe in the midst of our preparations and planning we could take time to prepare our hearts for this joyous occasion. Maybe a moment of reflection on the incredible gift God has given us, far more important than the store-bought gifts. Maybe we could remind each other of the possibility of “peace on earth, good will to men” (all). Maybe we can make a difference in our families, our communities and country by living our faith, being the presence of Christ in this time and place. May we join the throngs singing “Joy to the World, the Lord has Come” and proclaim Christ’s presence in our lives and homes. Merry Christmas!
Blessings and Love, Pastor Dave