Getting Closer to Bethlehem and the Manger


I am in awe of how fast it seems the Advent Season has gone this year! I know there are still the same number of seconds, minutes, and hours in a day each year, but for some reason, the pace seems extremely faster than years past. I could come up with a list of reasons why this feels like this to me. However, my focus is now to slow down...myself, my mind, my pace, my worry about all the details. I have been leading an Advent study called Finding Bethlehem in the Midst of Bedlam, and it would be good to remind myself of the bedlam around me (some of my own creation, but some not).

Last Sunday's worship service and the ones this coming Sunday on Christmas Eve are the perfect ways to slow myself down, and I hope you as well so that we might embrace The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood, as Eugene Peterson's translation of John 1:14 states. Many thanks to all who allowed me to slow down and enjoy the music and words of narration and song from our "Christmas on the Creek" service last Sunday.

One of the songs and music that impacted me especially was the song Ron Holm shared, Straw against the Chill. The words were profound. The music connected to my spirit. Several others in the congregation stated how much they enjoyed it. I even shared it as our prayer at the Council meeting on Monday night. May it be your prayer as we approach Bethlehem and the manger this week and the next.

"It was so long ago, but we remember still:

Star upon the snow, straw against the chill.

A planet dancing slow, a tree upon a hill.

Star upon the snow, straw against the chill.

There within a stable, the baby drew a breath

There began a life that put an end to death,

And all the frozen stillness, mighty voices heard:

"God is here among you! Human is the Word!"

If I don't see you before, during or after Christmas, my prayer is you see Jesus with you in the midst of the straw against the chill.

Pastor Steve

UPCOMING SERVICES AND SERMON TOPICS

12/24/17 (ADVENT WEEK 4) — 10:30 AM Morning Worship Service with Carols, Lessons, and Communion

12/24/17 (CHRISTMAS EVE) — 5:00 PM Candlelight Service with Carols and Communion

Thin Places — Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 2:1-14 (15-20) — Some places in the world reveal the thin line between Heaven and Earth. Bethlehem may be the thinnest place of all.

12/31/17 — Jesus of the Gaps — Luke 2:22-40

We stand here at the end of a year, ready to start 2018. What will the year ahead be like? We can't know in advance, but we can imagine already how Jesus will be with us in our ongoing story...Even in the gaps!

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