Everywhere we turn, we hear the sounds of the season. Carols are playing in stores, on car radios, on loud speakers in public arenas, and in our homes. We know the words by heart because they have been planted there since our childhood. We learn through them about Jesus the Christ. We learn that “born is the king of Israel,” about which, “heaven and nature sing,” and he brought with him “peace on earth and good will to men.” Each and every year we sing the songs and celebrate his coming. Each and every year, we decide how we will respond. Will we allow ourselves to be drawn to the manger, inspired by his love and changed because he came? In these last days before Christmas, some lyrics are ringing in my ears. They are from the song we sing or hear in church during Advent called “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter long ago
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
I give my heart
Let us make our way to the manger to look into the face of Christ again. Let us meditate on how we might respond to the world-changing, life-changing gift born to us through Jesus being born to us again. Maybe we’ll give him even more room in our hearts this year. I imagine in offering that gift, we will find more joy and hope in the year to come.
Community This Week:
During this week’s Administrative Council Meeting, the 2016 budget and leadership roster were approved. In the days to come, invitations will go out to leaders to attend a Winter Summit, led by Ann Handschu (Your Fruitful Congregations Coach) to discuss ministry goals for the coming year. This congregation has completed nearly every goal set during the Fruitful Congregation Journey. As you continue to live into Jesus calling to share his hope with the community, new goals will be prayerfully discerned. The priorities of the goals were determined by the 136 members who attended Hearts & Stories and the Administrative Council members. The Spirit is beautifully at work as this congregation continues to follow Christ’s leading!
Thursday, December 17 at 7:00pm, the Old Bethel Celebration Puppeteers will present “An Out-of-the-Box Christmas” in Fellowship Hall.
Our worshipping communities will come together in ONE service at 10am, the last two Sundays of the month for two unique worship events.
Sunday, December 20 the Chancel Choir will lead us through The Promise of Light, a Christmas cantata by Joel Raney.
Sunday, December 27 is Ugly Christmas Sweater Sunday. Don’t miss this Spirit-filled, light-hearted, fun-for-the-whole-family worship experience. Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater (there will be a prize) and fellowship after the service over hot chocolate and fruitcake.
Christmas Eve worship will be offered at 6:00 & 9:00pm. The 6:00pm service will feature our children’s pageant and carols. The 9:00pm service will be a traditional candlelight service of lessons and carols. The nursery will be staffed for children 3 years and younger at both services.
Invite a friend, neighbor or colleague to attend and experience the gift of Christ and the power of community!
Serving Christ Together,