Let your light shine with love
I love everything about Christmas, but I especially love Christmas pictures. Not just my own family's; I love looking at everybody's Christmas pictures! When somebody sees a picture and giggles, you know there's a good story coming. In my clan, there's the Great Pajama Christmas, when Gran sewed identical footie pajamas for a dozen tow-headed grandkids, which led to much mischief, as no one could tell us apart. Then there was the Great See-and-Say Christmas, when we kids all got the same talking toy and drove our parents frantic as we crowed nonstop: "The Rooster says: Cock-a-Doodle-DO!" Or the Great Babka Christmas, when we exchanged food gifts and yours truly accidentally ordered so much babka we were swimming in it. (My sister Sally still had a box of babka in her freezer the following Christmas!)

In this issue of our Community News, you'll find all of the "Christmas Selfies" that members of our church family and friends sent to us when we invited folks to show and tell us how they are celebrating and decorating at home this year. I hope you enjoy looking at them just as much as I do -- and thanks to everyone for sharing!

Christmas pictures tell all kinds of stories -- time and place, history and culture, tradition and celebration, friends and family, love and laughter. This week, our village looked pretty as a picture as our first big snow arrived at nightfall. I walked out in the snow to take some photos and found my neighbors were out, too. As I watched swirling snowflakes lit by a streetlamp, I heard someone start singing, "Silent Night, Holy Night." I've sung that carol a million times, but I realized again how much light and love is in it: All is calm, all is bright . . . Son of God, love's pure light . . .

This year, our Christmas -- and our Christmas pictures -- may look very different. We may not get to celebrate in the same way, and we may not get to see some of the bright shining faces of dear ones that we love so much. I know I'll be making room for some sadness this year, lingering like shadows around the edges of my Christmas joy. I tell myself not to worry. It's like the black paper we used to glue our Christmas pictures on, in those old photo albums (above). That darkness around the edges can often make the love and joy on our faces, and in our hearts, glow a little brighter.

This week, let's light our candles of love on the fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20. All through the week, we can hold on to that light and love, even when we are missing beloved friends and family. Remember we are still together, even when we're apart. And the best news is that all of us are loved, all the time.

-- MZ Smith, Community News editor
4th Sunday of Advent

Join our SUNDAY, DEC. 20 worship service via Zoom.
Our services are lovely, lively, friendly, warm, and informal, even when we're on screen!

This is the fourth Sunday of Advent, so we will light our fourth candle -- the candle of love. Bring your Advent wreath or four candles to light! The Llewellyn family will be our worship leaders and candle lighters.

We look forward to beautiful music by Music Director Tom McCoy, at the piano

And: We welcome Rev. Dr. Peter T. Johnson on his return to our virtual pulpit this week! Before retiring in 2018, Rev. Dr. Johnson served the Denton Presbyterian Church in Hampton, NY; Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien CT; and Talmadge Hill Community Church in New Canaan, CT. He is married to Joanne, a retired Minisink Valley teacher. Between them, they have 2 sons, 1 daughter, 4 grandsons, and a new baby granddaughter. See you Sunday!
Anyone can join us from anywhere for our live, online services! Use these handy links to connect with us.

To receive a unique Zoom link for our online service this Sunday: Email us at: 1presbyterian@gmail.com.

For info about online services and a link to download Zoom, click here.

To download the bulletin for this service: Click the picture above!

To get weekly info on all of our programs and activities: Fill out the handy contact form on our website at: www.presbychurchcoldspring.org.
Thanks to Janet Barton for her leadership of this festive event!
Sunday School Families:
Join us on Sat., Dec. 19!
FPCP families are invited to bundle up, mask up, and meet us outside the church this Saturday, Dec. 19, at 1 pm for a short, safe Christmas celebration! 

Children are invited to bring cards, art, or homemade ornaments. We will gather your gifts in a manger as a reminder of the love Jesus brings! Then we will share the gifts with seniors in our community. 

Our gathering will be brief, but there will be: carol humming, 
celebrating, sweetness, and something for each child to bring home. See you on Saturday!
Our 2012 Christmas pageant
Advent candles in sanctuary
Celebrate the Season with us!
Join us at our online services.

Our fourth Advent Service is live on Zoom on Sunday, Dec. 20, at 10:30 am. We'll light our four candles, and watch a Virtual Christmas Pageant created by our Sunday School students!

Our Longest Night Service will be Monday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 pm. Taking place on the winter solstice, this service acknowledges the long nights before Christmas can be difficult for those struggling with grief and loss of any kind.

Our Christmas Eve Service will be Thursday, Dec. 24 at 5 pm. This family-friendly service features traditional and jazzy holiday music by Music Director Tom McCoy.

All services are live on Zoom! To receive Zoom links for these services and programs: Please email 1presbyterian@gmail.com.
Merry Christmas from the Church of the Open Door!
Merry Christmas from Lynn Brown, Clerk of the Session!
Simon is ready to celebrate at Janet & Sandy Barton's house!
Season's Greetings from
Audrey Silverlinck . . .
 and Jeff & River Silverlinck
. . . and Ana, too!
I found an old green antique ladder and made it into a Christmas tree. . . My Christmas will be a celebration for one, but with lots of Zooms. Everyone in the family has an opinion on this ladder; with most finding it quirky and fun, but initial comment was “What the heck is that??” I, on the other hand, love it. It took 20 minutes to decorate. -- Happy holidays from Cathy Carnevale
We always give ornaments as gifts on Christmas Eve -- a pre-Christmas gift. They usually are personal, from an event or a trait that would highlight the past year.

We can’t think of anything better to describe this year than these guys!

-- Merry Christmas to all from Andy, Laura, Molly & Claire Reid
These wafers are called oplatek. On Christmas Eve, Polish families share them before the traditional meal, called Wigilia. Everyone takes a wafer and shares it with everyone else at the table. If you can still pronounce it, generations after your grandparents came to America, you say the traditional greeting, "Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenie!" Or: Merry Christmas!
-- Elder Ron Sopyla
Merry Christmas from one of our favorite dynamic duos: Wally & Annie Becker!
The merry bells keep ringing, happy holidays to you! -- Amy, Mitch, Tess & Henry Dul
Our tree changes colors every 10 seconds and I love it.
If you drive by after sundown you can see it from the road! -- Andrea and Peter Bach
This year we decorated our Norfolk pine tree with birds and berries to bring the outside in! -- Merry Christmas from Bev & Bruce Taylor
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is setting up this manger scene that was knitted by the late Prudy Hodge, one of the great old ladies from my former congregation. Hoping everyone can feel the spark of Christmas light and hope, even this year. Especially this year. 
-- Love to all, Rachel Thompson
Ready for Christmas? The Gordineers and their furry friends definitely are -- see above, right, and below! Merry, Merry Christmas!

-- Jennifer, Kathy, Jack & Maggie Gordineer
In 2002, Dave and I had been married one year. We were living in a communal farmhouse in Massachusetts. Someone acquired a Christmas tree. I cut a star out of a cardboard box and covered it with tin foil, then attached it atop the tree with a popsicle stick and some twist ties. The foil and twist ties are updated from time to time -- but that same star is now in its 18th season!

-- Merry Christmas from Carolyn, Dave, Elaine, and James Llewellyn
I didn't see the point of doing Christmas 'til I decided to do it. I went to Main Street and got a nice little plain tree from the florist. I went to Leonora's and got some gift bags full of stuff. I went to The Foundry for a gift certificate. And: One tradition I also continue is that I will plant this little tree when the season is right, as I have planted all the Christmas trees since I've lived on Garden Street!

-- Merry Christmas
from Sara Dulaney
Last year, Emma and Roy cut out the snowmen and angels and bells and stars and holly leaves. We used Aunt Lizzie's recipe (secret ingredient: sour cream). After decades of doing this every year, we are a cookie-making machine! I've always got two trays with a dozen cookies each baking in the oven while the two more trays are being carefully cut for the next batch. I've trained my troops!
Every year, we bake Christmas cookies. It's a ritual. First I take out cherished recipes handwritten on cards by the baking angels of my Christmases past -- grandmas, aunties, my mum, and lots of the neighbor ladies from my hometown (Winnetoon, Nebraska). Traditions of my German, Danish, English, and prairie-pioneer heritage are all represented. One cookie is called "Snow on Plowed Ground." Each year we roll out sugar cookies, so I get out the cookie cutters passed down through several generations.
After 240 cookies have baked and cooled, we all sit down at the table to frost and decorate them. The four of us have different decorating styles. Emma and Roy are quite precise and naturalistic. Greg is rather avant garde. I like red and green sprinkles. (A LOT!) And, I always insist that we listen to CDs of Christmas carols while we decorate. We sing along. I like Bing and Ella. (A LOT!) When we're done, we take plates of cookies to our neighbors -- and they bring different cookies to us. It's fun!!

-- Merry Christmas from Mona, Greg, Emma, & Roy Smith
Happy holidays!
--Kate Dayton
Merry Christmas from our
Chancel Choir and Tom McCoy!
And: Merry Christmas from our Sunday School kids! Don't miss their virtual pageant on Sunday!
In this pre-Covid picture, Ralph Cottiers helps Amy Dul create a "PAPA meal" in our church kitchen. Once each month, the Dul family makes a nutritious meal that is then served to the hungry and homeless at a Salvation Army soup kitchen in Peekskill. PAPA is an interfaith organization; up to 80 people are served daily, Monday through Friday, thanks to the PAPA project. Help us help them!
Stewardship is LOVE!
The year 2020 challenged us all, in ways that we never could have imagined. Our church family is working to meet those challenges, to help neighbors in need, and to offer support to our community.

We still can't worship together in our beloved sanctuary, but the life and work of our church goes on! We're offering online worship services, pastoral care, and education programs. And we all know how critical our mission projects are right now, such as the Food Pantry, Midnight Run, and PAPA Meals (left).

Please support The Church of the Open Door by making your 2021 giving pledge today! If you have not received a letter from us, email 1presbyterian@gmail.com. Or, click the PAPA Meal picture at left to download a form. THANK YOU!
Please help if you can. During this health and economic crisis, we are grateful that we can serve neighbors in need through our critical mission programs like the Food Pantry and Midnight Run. If you feel called to support this outreach, we warmly welcome any and all contributions. If you are a member of our church family and can maintain your giving at this time, we humbly thank you.
To make an online donation, click the image at the left, or right here. Bless you!
Telephone: (845)-265-3220 / Email: 1presbyterian@gmail.com www.presbychurchcoldspring.org