Dear Centenary Family,
This week's Gospel Reading, Matthew 1:18-25, is Matthew's attempt to explain something about the mysterious circumstances of Jesus' conception and to point to the significance of that mystery. I think the verses that precede Matthew 1:18 are also fascinating and give us the broader context for some of bigger questions Matthew is wrestling with in our reading for Sunday. Those verses contain Matthew's version of Jesus' genealogy.
Genealogies are fascinating, aren't they? Many of us are intrigued by our ancestors. Our lineage may be a source of pride - or of shame - or some of both. We often think if we can understand the people from whom we've come, we might understand ourselves more clearly. That's the precise question Matthew is trying answer in chapter 1: "Who is Jesus?"
That's the fundamental question of Advent and Christmas. And I invite you over the next week or so to spend some time thinking about ways the writers of Scripture and teachers of the church over time have answered that question. I invite you to think about your answer to that question. More importantly, I invite you to think about the difference your answer to that question makes in the way you see yourself and live your life every day.
The sermon title I'm working for this Sunday is: "Don't Let Your Family Tree Keep You From Christmas!"
I look forward to worshiping with you Sunday. I hope you're planning to stay for the wonderful Christmas meal and celebration that follows our 11 a.m. service. And I look forward to the opportunities we have to worship together on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Preparing for Jesus
A Message from our Lay Leader, Phyllis Stump
Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38
Mary's choice to carry the Son of God was an amazing one. Because she agreed to birth and nurture Jesus, she opened the possibility for new life that would transform the world.
We might say that Mary had a specific calling. Her willingness to accept that calling at such a young age was quite incredible, and her decision inspires us all.
And what about Joseph? According to the social customs of that day, he had every right to put Mary away from him.
But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1:20)
Joseph had a calling. Mary had a calling.
There will be times in our lives when we face a choice between fulfilling our calling or taking another way that is more convenient. Which shall we choose?
This Weekend at Centenary
Sunday, December 18: Worship Services at 8:40 am (informal) and 11:00 am (traditional), and Sunday School at 10:00 am with classes for all ages.
Sunday, December 18 at 12:15 pm: Christmas Luncheon
After the 11'o'clock service, we will enjoy our annual Christmas Luncheon. The church will provide ham, rolls, and beverages. Please bring a large side dish or dessert to share with others. Following the meal, Lee Covington, Kathleen Gregory, Matt Bates, and Phyllis Stump will join together to present a program of Story and Song.
Saturday, December 24: Christmas Eve Worship Services
4:00 pm - Family Worship
Note that all children are invited to be a part of the nativity processional as part of our Family Christmas Eve worship. During the service, children will be directed to the back of the sanctuary to take their place for the processional. This is a wonderful way for children of all ages to participate in the telling of the Christmas story about the birth of Jesus!
10:30 pm - Choir "Music of the Season"
11:00 pm - Traditional Worship
Sunday, December 25: One Worship Service at 11:00 am. No Sunday School classes. (Note that this time has been corrected from the last newsletter!)
Sunday, January 1: One Worship Service at 11:00 am. No Sunday School classes.
(Note that this time has been corrected from the last newsletter!)
Monday, January 23 at 12 noon: VMFA Lunch and Guided Tour of the Faberge Exhibit
We will meet at the Cafe for lunch before we have a guided tour of the Faberge Exhibit. Everyone pays for their own lunch, but the tour will be free.
Outreach and Mission Opportunities
December Opportunities for Outreach
Centenary's Outreach Committee is but an extension of the entire congregation. We organize activities that Centenary has offered for many years, and we also look for new opportunities of assisting our community. Whenever the Outreach Committee makes request(s), the Centenary family responds. Let us express our gratitude for your kindness and generosity, especially as we enter this season of Advent and Christmas.
1. Join us each December on Friday (December 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm) in the Fellowship Hall when we help our Walk-In guests with Christmas cards. They select cards for family and friends and also for veterans of the Armed Forces. Bring your good cheer for a good time! Please send an email to Nancy Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org) indicating which Friday(s) you can help. Thanks.
2. On Sundays in December, Outreach members Patsy and Doug Wilson will be available in the Fellowship Hall for "Gifts that Count." You may make a donation in honor or in memory of a loved one, and you will receive a Christmas card to send with an announcement of your donation.
3. The Outreach Committee is also collecting items that our Walk-Ins can use as Christmas presents for their loved ones. We have received lots of gloves, scarves, and winter hats, but could really use items like socks, Chapstick, lotion, and small gifts.
he Bless My Sole Foot Washing Ministry is running low on socks and would love any donations that you may be able to provide. Men's and women's tube socks are especially in demand.
t will soon be time for our annual donation to the United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) during our Christmas Eve Services. UMFS continues to reach out to children and youth with emotional, physical, and educational needs. Centenary has supported UMFS for years and we are thankful to be part of their team.
Thank you for all that you do!
Nancy Cook, Chair
Centenary's Outreach Committee
Please Remember in Prayer
Ryland Bailey, Sr.
Joe Ciucci Jr.
Jack & Lois Hinerman
Donna Mestre (Betty Brown's sister)
Rebecca Odea (friend of Rugby Baker)
Celebrating Birthdays in December
Mary Lou Webber
Richard C. McNeil
Mary Sue Sanderlin
Sue Ann Holloway
Photo of the Week
The Elementary Sunday School class made wreaths of Rice Krispie Treats for Advent.
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