You may know that I love to watch Christmas movies. With Netflix, Hallmark Channel, and our family standards like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” and “Elf,” all available on-demand, this is a fascination that I can indulge whenever I need a little holiday cheer. One of the things I’ve noticed, however, about the newer Christmas movies is a recurring theme of one or more of the characters needed to remember the meaning of Christmas. Much to my disappointment, that “meaning” is often described as “family”, “magic”, or “generosity”. These ideas make interesting (if predictable) movie plots, but they miss the mark for me.
Do you remember the scene in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (another of our family standards) when Charlie Brown exclaims, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus comes to his friend’s aid by reciting the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2. As people of faith, I believe there is a follow up question: since we know what Christmas is all about, what difference does it make in our lives?
This is where we put our faith into action. As people of the Incarnation (Luke 2, John 1), we believe that God came to earth from Heaven, that God took on an earthly body to be with us, and that God understood our need for a personal experience of faith so that we could not only live it but also share it with others. The story of Christ’s coming into the world at Christmas is the story of God entering our life in a very personal way—to experience our struggles and our joys, our need and our abundance. How do we turn around and show the world, especially at this time of year, that we know what Christmas is all about?
One important way we do that is to serve others. It’s in our mission statement! It’s part of the calling to follow Jesus. At Embry Hills, it is a long-standing tradition during Advent. We give to others through our Advent Giving Trees and other opportunities to collect funds and gifts for our neighbors and our partner organizations. This year may look different, but we are still serving others through our Advent Giving Trees. Our Serve Team has put together a wonderful guide for how to serve through the Advent Giving Tree that we are enclosing below. Please let this be an opportunity for you to make the love and presence of Christ real for someone else. Together, we can continue to incarnate the Word of God, to be Christ for our community, and to share the news that God is with us!
May it be!
The EHUMC Serve Team has 3 suggestions for you to give meaningful gifts for Christmas with absolutely no gift wrapping necessary!
Give the gift of life! Embry Hills UMC will hold the next American Red Cross Blood Drive Monday, December 21, from 2-7 p.m., in the Family Life Center. To make an appointment to donate, go to www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation and use sponsor code “embryhills” ; call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); or download the ARC Blood Donor App. You can also get info. about eligibility through those resources.
Support community non-profits through the Virtual Advent Giving Tree! Monetary gifts can be given in honor of or in memory of special people in your life and will support one or all of the following organizations: LaAmistad After School Tutoring program, Snax Sax for Kids, and/or Wellroot Family Services. You can access the google form with the following link to make your choices (instructions for payment will be given after you submit the form): http://www.embryhillsumc.org/adventgivingtree
Sponsor "to go" food bags for Trinity Table Community Kitchen! Thanks to the generosity of the congregation, this annual event is already fully funded!
Thank you for the ways you have continued to love your neighbors during this unusual year!
If you have any questions about any of the information here, please contact Victoria Stoddard, Director of Serve Team & Youth Ministries at email@example.com 770-938-0661, ext. 113.