Thursday, December 21, 2023

Merry Christmas!

 


From our house to yours,

Have a very, Merry Christmas and a Blessed and Happy New Year!


Dear Friends, it's time for me to take a blogging break.  I will be back posting in the New Year.  I will still be reading and commenting on your blogs.

Love and blessings!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Advent

 


Holy candles

Lit in hope

Peace and joy

Laced in love

Everlasting

Flames ablaze

Light profound

Darkness flees

When God surrounds

The soul and self.

Amen

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Let Every Heart Prepare

 


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. ~Isaiah 9:6-7


By this time in December, I expect you have at least some, if not all, of your decorations up and ready for the coming of Christmas Day.  It has been several years since Danny and I put up a tree; without family coming to visit, it didn't seem as meaningful to do so.  But this year, we buy a 7' artificial tree to replace our monstrous one that Danny has had for over 32 years!  Fewer decorations, yes, but tasteful and manageable all at the same time.





The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, framed by our mantlepiece garland.




And what home would be complete without an Advent calendar?



Hung in anticipation of Christmas cards on the way.


I'm still preparing mine for mailing.


I'm wondering, in this economy, we will even receive many cards this year.  I can always hope, and time will tell.

Last, but never least, our Nativity scene adorns the hearth of our fireplace.



May each and every one of you enjoy the peace and rest that the Advent season invites you to enter, and prepare your hearts for the joyful arrival of our Lord and Savior, Christ the King.

Amen!

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Christmas Comes Early

 


May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13


Hope is the word heard and used on the First Sunday of Advent as we light the first candle of this treasured season.  When Danny and I prepare to attend the service, where we've been asked to play two songs, hope is not at all the feeling I'm entertaining in my heart.

Our church, now known as Shiloh Community Church, recently votes to disaffiliate from the United Methodists.  November brings the hard truths of having to remove any and all insignias of the UMC denomination, including our hymnals, from the church premises.  Finding replacements is a costly endeavor, so we will be dependent upon someone typing the lyrics for a power point presentation each service going forward.

Disaffiliation is anything but an easy process; we are grateful for all the purchases and donations during our annual Pumpkin Patch sales, as we pray to have enough funds to completely free ourselves from the debt in which we find ourselves.  Unless we can pay it off, the UMC could possibly revoke our choice to leave that denomination.  I'm certain that God will help us find a way.

By far, the most difficult aspect of the whole ordeal is the thought of losing our beloved pastor, Jared.  Even though he has another full-time job, we fear he will leave us by the end of November.  Imagine my delight when I enter the sanctuary this past Sunday and find him there!  Ever curious, I intercept him to ask about it; I'm surprised by his answer that clergy is given a one-month reprieve from having to leave their flock.  "Oh," I think to myself.  "With Christmas coming, maybe those Grinches had a change of heart."  As we prepare for worship that morning, I sense the first glimmer of hope rising within me.

And with the church announcements, that hope fully blossoms.  Jared has chosen to disaffiliate along with us, a small congregation, determined to stick by us and help us navigate the inevitable changes that will continue to come.

What an unexpected surprise!  What a blessing!  It's truly nothing short of miraculous!

Christmas comes early for Shiloh Community Church as hope is rekindled, shining as brightly and clearly as that first candle lit in Advent.

One more of the many reasons to rejoice during this precious season, and to look forward to the coming of Christ in the manger and into our hearts this Christmas.

Amen!

For those of you keeping score, I know my comment about the Grinch is not very charitable.  I hope you will forgive me as the Lord has forgiven me and you.

Remember God's Covenant

  I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.  Never again will the waters become a flood to dest...