Nov. 22,  2019 
Our Savior Lutheran Ministries
Ministry Messenger
December Edition

Our Ministry Vision   
Rooted in Grace.  
Growing in Faith.  
Serving with Joy!

Andy Williams began one of his famous songs with the words: "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Thanksgiving and Christmas are definitely wonderful while at the same time are busy and crazy. There are so many things to do. There are so many places to be. There are so many people we want to see.
I think we can agree on one thing: it is definitely a break from the ordinary, the boring, and the mundane. It is a time that invites us into something different, something celebratory, something bigger than us.
The holiday season is a time filled with traditions. We all have them, whether it is turkey and football, lights on the house and a Christmas tree, a simple manger scene and an advent wreath, Christmas cookies and candy, our favorite songs that we love to sing or story to tell, a special concert or performance, the gifts we give and the ones we receive, that special dinner or maybe just that special Christmas Eve service. At times the traditions can seem endless, maybe even daunting, but each of our traditions are special. They are fun. They are meaningful.
Unfortunately, at times it seems like the church becomes "anti-tradition" as it speaks of the commercialization of Christmas and tries to plaster "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" stickers all over everything. Now don't get me wrong. We can't have Christmas without Christ, but I would like to suggest that instead of "poo-pooing" these traditions and saying they are bad, we recognize  at the heart of all those things is the Creator who patiently and quietly calls us to worship.
What we see in the Bible is that God uses traditions in a powerful way to remind His people of Him and His works throughout history whether it be the Passover celebration, a week of camping in tents, or even what we celebrate in communion. God uses our senses. He uses tastes and smells and visuals to help us know Him and remember Him so that we might be led to follow Him, to worship. And so is it no surprise that throughout history, God's people would use traditions as powerful reminders to help us step into the story of God.
What if the turkey on our Thanksgiving table is an opportunity to tell one another about the ways in which God daily and richly provides us with all that we have and need for this life? What if instead of a Christmas Tree just being something that takes over our livings rooms, it becomes something that calls us to worship and points us to Christ? What if every time we see lights on the houses of our streets we are reminded of that first Christmas when the light of the world came into the darkness of our world? What if when we hear Christmas carols over the loud speaker at the shopping mall we are reminded of the incredible story they invite us into, the story that they tell? What if instead of beating up on traditions we embrace them as tools that lead us into worship and help us celebrate Christ as a part of Christmas?
Traditions are good. They are great things, many with deep meaning and significance. My hope and prayer for all of us this holiday season is that as we walk through our many and various traditions, they might not be something that we just do blindly and mindlessly. What if we take a moment to stop and consider why we are doing what we are doing and how this tradition points us back to God and His gifts to us?
I can't wait to celebrate this upcoming holiday season with you. It's going to be awesome. I know God is going to do great things in us, through us, and among us. I hope this coming season truly is the most wonderful time of the year for you.  

--Pastor Kevin
Helping in our Valley
Spread God's Love Locally!

Thank you to everyone who helped out with Operation Christmas Child! We were able to provide over 300 boxes for kids in need around the world. Now to turn our attention locally, we will begin collecting non-perishable food and canned goods, along with socks, to support our local pantries and shelters. Collection will begin during the Thanksgiving Service, and then continue through December 22. 

Look for the cornucopia up front to place your donations!  
Join us for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Eve Worship & Pie Social

Celebrate with us on Wednesday, November 27 at 7 PM as we give thanks and praise to God for all His many blessings this year.  After worship, enjoy some pie with friends! Bring a pie to share and we will provide the whipped cream and drinks.  

Family Advent Devotions Available
This year Our Savior is providing families with a Jesse Tree devotional book and ornament kit. Families can use these kits to do small family devotions every day during the season of Advent as we prepare for the celebration of Jesus' birth. The devotions start on November 27th and go through December 25th. Jesse Tree books and kits will be available starting November 24th in the gym after church and will also be made available after Thanksgiving Eve service and following Sundays. If you have any questions, contact Sara Agee at 447-1246, ext. 226.   
Advent by Candlelight!
Ladies, what a joyous and busy time awaits us as we enter the Advent season!  Here's the perfect opportunity for you, your friends and neighbors to get together and welcome in the Christmas season with prayer and scripture, carols and a bit of dessert!  That's...

Please join us Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:00PM as we suspend the holiday rush for an hour of pure celebration in anticipation of our Savior's birth. What a glorious night it will be!  Won't you join us?  Please contact Kathy Klins at 925.984.3646 by Nov. 30, and she will be sure to find a special spot for you!    Christmas blessings to you all!
Musical Notes
"Unto Us a Son is Born"
Christmas begins with Christ...prepare your hearts and minds for the Christmas season with carols old and new. This year's Our Savior Holiday Concert will feature choirs, brass, handbells, flute and violin. Sunday, December 8, 4pm, Sanctuary .

Christmas Caroling...
Bring your voices and Christmas cheer on Sunday, December 22nd as we carol to homebound members of the Our Savior community. Meet at 4:00pm in the Fireside Room. Pizza dinner after!
A Sanctuary for the Season
Do You Like to Decorate?
Come between 9:00am and 12:00pm on Saturday, November 30th to help us decorate the sanctuary for the holiday season. We will put up trees, hang lights and wreaths, and start to set up nativities in the back of the church.  If you have a special nativity set that you'd like to share with the congregation, please bring it in to the Church Office!

Poinsettias on Order.
Once again this year, you will be able to buy a poinsettia (or two!) to help make the altar festive for the holiday worship services.  Cost will be $10 per plant.  The Altar Guild will be selling plants after worship beginning December 1st.

Holiday Season of Giving
Throughout the holiday season, many families have travel plans taking them out of town.  As a reminder, there are plenty of ways to insure continuity of your offerings to OSLM in addition to placing in the offering plate:
  • LLNL employees can use the Home Campaign to have their contribution automatically taken from their paycheck, which then also generates matching funds from the lab.
  • Members that use a bank that includes the Bill Pay system for automatically paying bills from their checking or savings account can use it to send contributions to OSLM.  Simply provide the name and address of the church to Bill Pay.
  • Members using Quicken can set up recurring payments using Quicken Bill Pay.
  • Members can set up direct deposits with their bank.
  • Members can use "Simply Giving," the VANCO donation system.  To do this, go to the church website and click on "Connection," then "Online Donations."  A recurring or one time donation can be made.  This method has a fee that the church must pay.
  • Finally, our 70 ½ and older members can exclude up to $100,000 annually from gross income for Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from an IRA directly to OSLM.  QCDs count toward satisfying any required minimum distributions (RMDs) that you otherwise would have to receive from your IRA(s). 

For any questions, feel free to contact Carla Gomes in the church office.
THANKS for your continued generosity in supporting our Lord's work here at OSLM!
Notes from the Board...
Grab your coffee and bagels and join members from the Board of Directors and the Board of Elders for an informal chat.  We welcome your questions, suggestions, and the opportunity to get to know one another better. Our next meeting will be Sunday, December 15, during fellowship time. 

October Meeting Minutes
Click here  to read Minutes from the October Board of Directors Meeting. Click the following links to read the attachments to the Minutes.

Save the Date!
Semi-Annual Voters' Assembly, January 19, 10:30am 
December Dates
December is full of worship and service opportunities!

December 3, Advent by Candlelight. 7pm. (Ladies' Dessert)
December 4, "God's Promises from Isaiah," Advent Worship, 7pm
December 8, "Unto Us a Son is Born",  Christmas Concert, 4pm
December 11, "Wise Guys & Starry Skies," Advent Worship, 7pm (TK-8) 
December 18, "God's Promise to Us," Advent Worship, 6pm (Preschool Program)
December 22, Christmas Caroling, 4:00pm, Fireside Room
December 24, Candlelight Christmas Eve Worship, 7pm & 10pm
December 25, Christmas Day Worship, 10am
Preschool Highlights
We have had a wonderful time in Preschool during the month of November. We started our month with Parent/Teacher Conferences giving parents and teachers the time to build relationships while working together for the best interest of the children we care for. Preschool joined the "Big School" for an amazing Veteran's Day Assembly singing "Yankee Doodle" to the soldiers to say thank you for keeping us all safe. We ended our month with a wonderful Thanksgiving Feast in the Preschool Big Room with all of our friends. Each class had fun making a dish to share. We all sang for the parents and talked about all the things we have to thank God for. We hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with happy hearts and warm memories as you reflect on all the blessings God has given.
News from Our Missionaries
Click here to read the latest newsletter from Janet Volkman, serving in Guatemala.

Click here to read Rachel Meyer's fall newsletter, updating us on her work in Uganda.

Please pray regularly for both of these amazing ladies and the work each is doing to spread God's message of love.