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As part of our worship this past Sunday we added the Candle of Peace to the Advent Wreath.

Honestly, for most of us, we wonder if the light from these candles will ever makes its way into our lives. It appears hope, love, joy, and peace are too far out of reach for our weary world. Yet, the fact that we light them is in fact a reminder that deep within each of us is a light that shines in the darkness. So, we gather, we sing, we pray, and we listen for the brush of angel wings.

On Christmas Eve we will gather in our sanctuary at 5 PM to celebrate the Gift of Jesus. One way we will do this is by lighting the Christ Candle which is in the center of the Advent Wreath. What a powerful moment it is to finally light the Christ Candle and know that the season and the wreath are now complete, and Christmastide is upon us!

What if this year we allow our hearts and minds to carry the Advent Wreath with us into Christmastide? What if this Christmas Eve we invite Jesus to truly be the center of our thoughts and our actions?

Someone once said, “To light a candle in the darkness is to say, ‘I beg to differ.’”

The light of Christ is a powerful gift of hope, love, joy, and peace to a weary world…

to my weary world… to your weary world.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5

May the Light of Christ warm your heart and brighten your path,

Pastor Jo

December 21, 2021

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“There’s no angry way to say bubbles.” I read that quote a few weeks ago and embraced it as a challenge. Even in my angriest of tones it still sounds silly. I have visited several cities where a bubble machine would fill the square with bubbles. Children and adults alike would stop. For just a moment each adult would pause to watch the children run through the bubbles and each giggle seemed to transport the adults to a joyful and care-free memory.

Unfortunately, most of us equate joy with carefree. But, fortunately, most of us know that joy is much deeper than our circumstances. Some might even say joy is something we choose. If “choosing joy” seems difficult to embrace in your current circumstances, I encourage you to look for ways to bring joy to others. Offer a smile to someone, offer an unexpected compliment, allow someone in the checkout line to go in front of you. You just might find the joy you share is the joy you receive. If that doesn’t work you can always rent a bubble machine!

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b

Pastor Jo

December 17, 2021

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Week Two of Advent invites us to consider what it is in our lives that is authentic and what is not. I must admit, there are certain things in my life that I prefer to be artificial. As much as I love the thought of jumping in a sleigh and riding through the woods looking for the perfect Christmas Tree, I prefer my artificial one. When I “pine” for the smell of spruce I simply add another artificially scented wax cube to the warmer.

Almost all of my jewelry is “not real” and I’m okay with that, too. I’ve even had artificial fruit in a fruit bowl, but I grew tired of dusting it. I don’t care for artificial sweeteners and I’m not quite sure of artificial intelligence. Maybe I should ask “Alexa” to explain that to me…

So, I asked, “Alexa, are you an artificial intelligence?” To which the small circular speaker responded, “I like to imagine myself a bit like an Aurora Borealis, a surge of charged multi-colored photons dancing through the atmosphere.”

Even a small circular speaker doesn’t want to be labeled artificial!

What about us? Do we take the time to allow our authentic selves to emerge from all of the trappings of irrational standards, unreachable goals, or worse - the echoes of our past telling us that we will never be good enough? I suppose even the moon and stars might appear quite boring compared to the Aurora Borealis, but what would our night sky be without them?

Jesus invites each of us to come as we are… in God’s love we will find the courage to be our authentic selves… and in the eyes of Perfect Love, that is enough.

Pastor Jo

December 6, 2021

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