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Most of us have lived long enough to know that seasons come and go and those seasons don’t always come and go according to plan. It’s 80 degrees on Christmas Day and snowing on Easter Sunday. The family can’t come home for the holidays… the family won’t leave. The season is too sad, too lonely, too busy, too stressful…

As we prepare for 2022 we won’t magically enter into a new frame of mind, a healthier lifestyle, or a stronger connection to our faith. We will do so only with intentionality.

Or, as Nick Laird says,

“Time is how you spend your love.”

With that in mind, I invited each of us to take our 2022 calendars--paper or digital--and

set aside the 3rd Saturday of each month from 10-11 to serve others as we gather to prepare sack lunches for the homeless of St. Mark’s UMC.

And/or set aside the 1st Saturday of each month (anytime between 8AM and noon) to help with our Second Harvest Sharing (and/or the Friday before to help set-up).

Or maybe there is another act of service that draws you in… put it in your calendar.

If you’re really feeling adventurous, add the worship services you plan to attend.

Yes, seasons come and go--rarely according to plan--but let us not forget that the good we offer is everlasting.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,

as though you were working for the Lord and not for people."

--Colossians 3:23

Pastor Jo

December 29, 2021

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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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