This Friday evening at 6:00 PM you are invited to gather at Discovery Center for the 4th Annual Ornament Exchange……this is one of the highlights during our month long celebration of the Advent (Christmas) experience. You are to wrap an ornament – and bring a finger food and enjoy the evening.  In days past this has been for the ladies only – but this year it has been opened up to the entire church. Funny anecdote —- the ornament Annie brought home last year, she hung on our Charlie Brown tree (which stays up 365 days a year) – and we commented yesterday as we spoke concerning Friday’s ornament exchange…..

This weekend our Celebration Services will take a deep look at Scrooge as he is visited by the 1st of 3 Ghosts.  The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his childhood – where he sees himself happy – sad – perplexed – realizing that today – he has become nothing like he was then…..and to his chagrin – he cries out to the Ghost of Christmas past –“leave me! Take me back.  Haunt me no longer.” We all have a past – some of our past we can remember and other things we have long forgotten – and there is a small chance that the events of our past are not exactly as we recall them….This will be a great time to be together ….you might read Isaiah 9:2-6 prior to worship….Look forward to worshipping with you through song – the Lord’s Supper and study.

  

The 2nd Sunday of Advent:  Peace…..Last Sunday, we lit th 1st candle in our Advent wreath – the Candle of HOPE…..let us light it again, remembering that the light of hope shines for us in th e darkness. 

Peace is one of God’s gifts to us.  John the Baptist was a prophet calling the people of Israel to repent, to find peace with God.  John also declared that it is in our actions of love and justice that God’s peace is shown.  May we by our actions help to prepare the way for the coming of Peace.

We light this 2nd candle to remind us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  His light helps us find ways to share God’s peace with others.  The prayer of St Francis asks God to help us be peacemakers.  Lord, make us instruments of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope’ where there is sadness, joy, and where there is darkness light.  Grant that we may not seek so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to  be loved as ot love.  For it is in giving that we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen!

This week has demonstrated the truth of what we are hearing from those who work with the Food Bank and other food agencies……Sunday after church Lily and Ysabelle filled our Blessing Box to the brim…..By Tuesday evening – it was 100% empty…..we have enough food to fill it 75% – (this is of Wednesday) – so I’m asking that we bring 3-5 nonperishable items to church this weekend so we can truly be a BLESSING to those who look to our little box to supplement their families hunger needs.   Thanks so much…..on thing we learn as we grow in Christ – one of the greatest blessings to be able to give to those who cannot return the favor…..Be Blessed as you give the proverbial “cup of cold water.”

Basically, the only direct words Jesus says in the Book of Acts reflect the Biblical spirit of giving —- Jesus said it is better to give than to receive……

            I would hope that your family has discussed how you can be more like Jesus this month by either giving a year-end gift to Discovery – or contributing to another agency who would use your gift to be a blessing to the less fortunate….EXAMPLE – Annie’s young brother went in with other families and bought gave enough money to purchase 111 sleeping bags for the homeless in Norman, Oklahoma……Do Something — let’s remember the One who said – if we do – “great is your reward in heaven.”

·      Each day reflect on 10 blessings you have because you belong to Jesus

·      Each day reflect on 10 people who are apart from Christ yet need is Peace

·      At the celebration service this weekend – open your heart to the truth of Biblical PEACE and ask God to help you continually walk – live and worship in PEACE

·      Each Day ask God to help you be a reflection of the One who is the Prince of PEACE

·      Each Day ask God to give a real spiritual blessing to the families who takes food from our Blessing Box

This week A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on national prime time television for the 52th time. In a world where the latest greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and social media trends come and go in a matter of days, 52 years of anything becomes quite meaningful.

It is no secret how nostalgic I am over Christmas – started play8ing Christmas music on Pandora the 1st of October….. I have a huge red ball hanging all year in our tree outside the front door.  Also above my head in my office are Charlie brown and Linus characters (Compliments of Heather)…as stated in E-News our Charlie Brown tree is beside our TV 365 days a year….

If you have watched the show – have you noticed that in the middle of his verbal presentation Linus drops the blanket.

In that climactic scene when Linus shares “what Christmas is all about,” he drops his security blanket, and I am now convinced that this is intentional. Most telling is the specific moment he drops it: when he utters the words, “fear not” (at :38 seconds).

Looking at it now, it is pretty clear what Charles Schultz was saying, and it’s so simple it’s brilliant.

·      The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears.

·      The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves.

·      The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly, and learn to trust and cling to Him instead.

Our world of 2017 can be a scary place, and most of us find ourselves grasping to something temporal for security, whatever that thing may be. Essentially, 2017 is a world in which it is very difficult for us to “fear not.”

But in the midst of fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon image from 1965 continues to live on as an inspiration for us to seek true peace and true security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found.

I love so many things about the month of December.

·      The memories, the gatherings, the excitement for what’s coming.

·      Twinkle lights everywhere after dark.

·      Remembering the story of Jesus’ birth with the angels and shepherds and a star

leading souls toward a newborn King—the one who changed everything.

By mid-month many are running here & there because of an impossible schedule of work

And parties – and children’s schedules – what’s a mom/dad to do? 

Do you need to press pause on all the things, in the middle of December, in order

to behold the glory of God?   Below are a few Scriptures which will give hope, confidence

and encouragement in the midst of the hustle/bustle December brings to us all…read

and be blessed…

1 Sam 2:2 – There is no one holy like the LORD, there is no one besides you, there

      is no Rock like our God

Exodus 15:11 – Who among the gods is like you, LORD?  Who is like you – majestic in

     Holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders

Psalm 18:1-2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock,

     In whom I take refuge my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 

Next Weekend

THE LIFE OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

 Luke 2