Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christ in Christmas

This week's reflection came from Linda Pepe, and the whole thing is well worth reading.  But I wanted to post the couple of paragraphs that deal with the topic if keeping Christ in Christmas:

Christ IS Christmas... and regardless of whether we show up at the door in the middle of the night after a divine encounter with a host of angels, or shuffle through the whole experience more concerned about coffee and gastric distress, Christmas will always be about Christ. And we can commercialize it or Santa-ize it, or bake through it or shop through it… but we still can’t TAKE Christ out of Christmas…

And do you know why? Because Christ can’t take YOU out of Christmas… you are the reason there IS a Christmas- you’re the reason that Jesus was sent here the first place- because of God’s great love for you…because of God’s love for US! “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son!” For God so loved each one of us… because God loved, Jesus came to earth- bringing with him the foundations of everything he knows- love, joy, hope…
So Merry Christmas!  May it be exactly as you wished it to be, or exactly as you made it to be.  May you notice and welcome the gift of the Christ child.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Eve for the Homebound

General Seminary was selected to produce the nation-wide Christmas Eve program for CBS-TV this year.  You can tune in to your local affiliate at 11:35 p.m. to bring in Christmas Episcopal style.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


At this time of year, when so many of us are both watching every penny and wanting to share all that's in our hearts, this video is a wonderful reminder to appreciate the little things, and to know that it doesn't take a lot to make a difference in someone's life.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Choice

Reverend PattiAnn Bennett pointed out in her sermon tonight that each individual has a similar choice to Mary.  Not discounting, of course, Mary's contribution to becoming the mother of the Christ child, but rather her choice to accept this as God's will - her statement in Luke, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."

How often are we, as individuals, guided to do something, give something, provide something for someone else?  And how often do we make the choice to say, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."?

PattiAnn went on to describe several instances this past week where people have stepped up, "Here am I," and the Lord has provided people specially suited to their gifts - a family of 6 with frozen pipes, no money for many essentials, and much need received groceries, wood to burn, necessities and a coupon for the makings of Christmas dinner.  Their Wood Bank at St. Michael's and All Angels in Eureka is now a reality as people made the choice to aid those in their community by chopping wood, stacking, loading and unloading trucks to be delivered.

So when we're given an opportunity to be of service to our fellow man, will we follow Mary's example?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From the Children

This is just priceless.  This Christmas story was made with children actors less than eight years old, has managed to receive hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube in just a few hours. The creators say it reflects the spirit of Christmas by reflecting what took place on 'the first December 25,' as well as showing beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. It has been produced by an Anglican parish of Auckland in New Zealand.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Joy and Laughter

This past Sunday is known as Gaudete Sunday in Advent, and we lit the candle for Joy.  This sermon by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carter reminds us that joy and laughter are also gifts from God, and can often help us through difficult times.  The quote here that I like the best comes from writer Peter DeVries:  "Do not assume ... that because I write in comic ways, I am being trivial, and I will not assume, that because you write in serious ways, you are being profound!"

Joy can be found in things great and small.  Last night's gift after the rather serious and staid Candlelighting Ceremony (the atmosphere would be as you expect when you're lighting candles for those who have passed on) was that of snow.  The simple joy of seeing all things made new, pristine and beautiful by a layer of snow lifted our hearts immeasurably, as we already knew that our loved ones resided with God and He takes care of them - even as he reminds us that life must find that balance.

So don't forget to find - and recognize - the joy - God gifts us with it regularly.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Catching Up Blog

So, I'm a wee bit behind with updating, and there has been so much happening that this will be a blog of summary and links so you can read (or not) at your leisure.

First, we're in the season of Advent, and this sermon by the Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson, Jr. is absolutely awesome.  We often get the message during Advent that this is a time of preparing ourselves for the birth of the Christ child, a time of waiting.  Rev. Levenson looks at it a bit differently - he calls Advent the "Two Minute Warning" akin to what we see in a football game.  Now is the time to take action, to get your head in the game, to give your very best because the birth of the Light of the World is just around the corner, and you don't want to be anywhere but the top of your game.  I think this reflection was in honor of my very football crazy family.

Next, on the very same Sunday, our own Rev. PattiAnn Bennett prepared a wonderful sermon that she's finalizing (or I'd have the link to it) and I will link to later.  She talked about the meanings and definitions of some of the Episcopal traditions and how they came to be. 

Now, the Prayer Shawl Ministry sponsored by Holy Trinity for Lincoln County participated in the local 4H Craft Fair, and just had an informational booth, where people could find themselves gifted with a pocket prayer (just like what it sounds, a small, knitted or crocheted cross made with prayer that can fit in your pocket), or dishclothes (good for those odds and ends of yarn that can be useful) with prayers attached.  A lot of people stopped when they saw pictures of Hazel Walsh, the oldest member of our congregation (at 105), wearing one of our prayer shawls, and reminisced about being in her classes.  And several people were interested in learning more about the ministry.  Needless to say, anyone interested is welcome to join us on Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 as we knit and crochet prayers into garments (blankets, shawls, hats, scarves, wrist warmers, or whatever else we might think of). 

And finally, this Sunday, Holy Trinity is hosting the World Wide Candlelighting Ceremony for this part of Lincoln County - this is for anyone who has lost a child to light a candle for them and participate in a 24-hour wave of light around the globe.  The organization who helps organize this event, along with support groups and grief counseling is Compassionate Friends.  For anyone interested in attending the ceremony here, we will begin at 6:45 p.m., and light our candles at 7:00 p.m.  The whole service is about 30 minutes, and everyone is welcome to bring pictures and stories of their loved ones to share, or just come and know that you're not alone in having lost a child, of any age.  Refreshments will be served afterwards.

I will endeavor not to fall behind again, and will post the link to PattiAnn's sermon as soon as it's posted.  Let me know if you have any questions.