December is here! With it come a few things I cannot believe, including the fact that my daughter, Joy, is now 12 years old (her birthday is today, Dec. 1). When she was born, people told me time would fly by. While staying up many nights with her and worrying about all the things new parents worry about, I didn’t believe that the time would ever pass at a normal rate, much less “fly by.” Yet, here we are: twelve short years later. When we look back at pictures and videos of her as a baby, it is both hard to believe those years have come and gone AND hard to remember when she was that small. (She is currently exactly one inch shorter than I am!).
Isn’t it funny how time does it’s thing? There are days, months, years when it seems like we can hardly keep up with how fast things are changing. Then there are times when everything seems to drag on. I can’t decide what time feels like right now: are we stuck in a pandemic rut, or are things changing too rapidly to catch up? Maybe there is a little of both.
What does time feel like for you right now?
Today we begin a new month, and I invite you to look at this day as an opportunity to experience time differently. This month, as we experience Advent and pray for a new experience of Emmanuel (God with us) to arrive, treat each day as an opportunity to take a little time to notice the world God has given us and, perhaps more importantly, what God is doing in the world. Seeing God’s hand in action is an invitation in itself to join in God’s work. It is also a way to connect with God more deeply and appreciate God’s call in your life. This month, look for an opportunity every day to join in the work of God around you.
Here are some ways the church is offering you that opportunity, no matter what age or stage of life you are:
• We continue to offer virtual worship every Sunday on Facebook and YouTube. Our Advent series is “When You Wish Upon a Star”. We’re inviting you to think about the things we are wishing for right now and how much we need a new Advent of God’s presence in our lives. Even in the midst of the dark despair we may be feeling in these hard days, where are you seeing the light of Christ in the world? And how can you share that light?
A Nurturing Community of Faith:
• We’re offering a special virtual worship service called, “The Longest Year: A Service of Lamentation and Reflection” designed to help you cope spiritually with the most difficult holiday season any of us can remember. Premiering Sunday, December 6, at 6 pm on facebook and YouTube.
• Christmas Eve Drive-In Worship, Thursday, Dec. 24 at 5:00 pm in the back parking lot. This service will include carols, the Christmas story, and candlelight.
• Snax Sax for Kids is packing food boxes this season to offer our Snax Sax families a little more during this difficult time. The first drive-through pick up of boxes was very successful thanks to our partnership with La Amistad, the after-school tutoring program we began housing last school year. (This year we are continuing to be community partners through virtual tutoring.)
• Virtual Advent Giving Trees: details on how to participate will be in this week’s edition of the Weekly Source coming out this weekend. Stay Tuned!
• Trinity Table Community Kitchen Sponsor-a-Bag: through your financial donations, a small team will be able to purchase and prepare food that will be delivered safely to Trinity UMC on January 3, 2021.
• American Red Cross Blood Drive on Monday, Dec. 21
Growing in Christ:
• Advent boxes and accompanying video on our social media pages
• Zoom check-ins for kids on Tuesdays at 3:30
• KidMin Blog on our website with specials provided by members of the congregation, including stories and sign language!
• Virtual Christmas Eve pageant staring several of our children and their families to tell the story of the birth of Jesus and what it means for us today (this will be premiered on Christmas Eve on facebook and YouTube!)
For Youth (these events are currently planned to be virtual)
• Youth Fellowship on Sunday, Dec. 6
• Youth Christmas Party, Dec. 13
• Youth Alum Christmas Party, Dec. 20
For Adults (all groups currently meeting or will meet virtually)
• Joyful Sunday school class Sunday mornings
• Vision Sunday school class Sunday mornings
• Raising White Kids book study with EHUMC member Vince Vigil and EHUMC ministry intern Angelo Martinez
• Wesley Challenge Small Group with Rev. Susan Allen Grady
My wish for you this Advent season is to receive Christ in a fresh way. And when that happens, I’d love to hear about it!
May it be!