Pastor Connection
December 10, 2020
Poems of Preparation
We continue with our Advent Theme: Those Who Dream. This Sunday we will read Luke 1:46-55, Mary's song of joy. I'd like to share another poem from Sanctified Art by Sarah Are to prepare our hearts and minds for this Sunday. Peace, Pastor Amy

Mary

When I was young, my church hosted a Christmas pageant.
Families would show up on Christmas Eve
With diaper bags and children thrown over their shoulders.
No amount of Silent Night could quiet that room.
It was a holy and beautiful chaos.

What was special about that church Christmas pageant,
Was we, the children, got to pick our character in the story.
So for one night, we could be Magi in Burger King crowns.
We could be angels with wings made of clothes hangers.
We could be shepherds in bathrobes, protecting the flock.
We could be Mary, beautiful and brave.

And the preacher would stand on the steps
And tell us the Christmas story,
And as our character entered the scene,
We would run down the center aisle and assume our place at the manger.
(As an aside: Is there anything more holy than seeing a child
Run down that center aisle, as if getting closer to God is all they have in mind?)

And as the story progressed, the front steps would become crowded
With dozens of Magi and a wide array of animals,
But I would always choose Mary.
I would always choose Mary—
Mary the teen mom.
Mary who said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
Mary who sang.

For even at that age, even as a child,
We could tell that Mary was afraid, and into that dark, Mary sang.
So I and most of the other little girls in the church that night,
Would tighten the blue bed sheets draped around our shoulders,
And run down the center aisle when our name was called.
For in that moment,
We were on our way.
In that moment,
We were those who dream.
In that moment,
We were all Mary.
In that moment,
We were brave. 

*Artwork for today: "Contours of Mary's Dream" by Lauren Wright Pittman (Source: Sanctified Art)
Help Us With the Candlelight on Christmas Eve
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During our online Christmas Eve Service this year, we would like to feature pictures of our church members lighting a candle from home. We are hoping to offer a glimpse what we experience each year - the glow of candlelight illuminating the faces of our faith community. Will you help us? Please email pictures of you and your family lighting a candle to Pastor Amy amy@1stpresby. org. You may also text pictures at Amy's phone number in the church directory.
Ways To Serve During Advent and Christmas
Good News Christmas!
Organizers felt that Christmas in Walnut needed to be cancelled this year. However, people did not want to leave shopping families without some encouragement, especially during this difficult year. So they are reaching out to churches and organizations like ours with an alternative opportunity called Good News Christmas! Good News Christmas is partnering with Cunningham & Irving Elementary Schools and Royal Legacy Christian Academy (three of the main schools that shopped at the Christmas store in earlier years) to encourage their combined 550 families during this challenging time with a gift card. With our donations of money, organizers will buy gift cards from preselected local businesses. Families will be able to purchase items or treat their family to a restaurant meal. The deadline for donations is THIS FRIDAY, December 11. You may write a check to our church and send it to the office. Please put Good News Christmas in the memo line. We're excited to be able to encourage schools and families during this holiday season and support local businesses as well.
Hat and Mitten Tree
Even though we are not decorating a tree, we are still collecting hats and mittens for those who need them. We will be donating items to Cunningham elementary and People's Clinic. You may drop off items at the church office Monday through Thursday. We will be collecting them all December.
Adopt a Family and Gift Drives
Would you like to adopt a family? Our church is not organizing purchases this year, but there are a variety of ways that you can still participate. Click HERE for a list of participating organizations and contact information to get involved. You can donate toys, coats, or offer some volunteer hours. Thanks to the Cedar Valley Volunteer Center for distributing this info.
Adam Hamilton Bible Study
We continue each Monday at noon for this year’s 4–week Advent Study. We will follow Adam Hamilton’s new study, Incarnation. Each week, Hamilton will guide us through a discussion on the names of Jesus. The zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87844773994 The meeting ID is 878 4477 3994

The Tuesday Morning Bible study will not meet during Advent. We encourage you to join on us Monday's at noon.
Devotions for Advent and Christmas
The church is providing a daily devotion guide that corresponds with this year’s Advent theme - Those Who Dream. Reflect each day on Scripture, art, poetry, and your own journaling as you grow deeper in relationship with God and prepare for Sunday’s worship services. If you would like a copy please call the office or email Pastor Amy. amy@1stpresby.org
Need Christmas Cards?
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Presbyterian Women  have Christmas Cards available in the office for $5.00 box. Please call to make sure there is someone in the office before you come. Normal office hours are 9:00-2:00 M-Th.
Feeling a Little Blue?
Tending to mental health is particularly challenging during this time. NAMI is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and their families navigate the difficulties the many people are facing right now. You might want to check out some of their workshops meeting online. If you would like to register or get more information contact them through email namibh@qwestoffice.net

Tuesday, December 22, from noon-1 pm: Holiday Stress & Self-Care
The “most wonderful time of the year” doesn’t always feel that wonderful, with an array of demands on our time and energy often leaving us feeling depleted, disappointed, and depressed. This one-hour session includes practical tips to manage the stress that accompanies the holidays, tips for self-care, and ways to find the support you need from a licensed therapist. Let’s bring more “peace & joy” back into your holiday season!

Thursday, December 10, from noon-1 pm: Understanding Depression
How is depression different from sadness? An accessible guide to understanding causation, symptoms and treatment options for depressive disorders. Includes practical tips for managing symptoms and helping others.

Thursday, December 31, from noon-1 pm: Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder
Giving and Stewardship Campaign
Every year, our church fills out pledge cards. We pledge to give of our time, talents, prayer, energy, and money to the church's ministry. Thank you to those who have turned in pledges already. It is not too late to send a pledge card to the church office. Click HERE for an electronic copy. Hard copies are available in the office. Please let us know if you need one. Remember that you can also give online. Thank you for your generosity and please continue to give as you can.
In Our Thoughts and Prayers
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Please look for an updated prayer list this Sunday. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Add to the Prayer List
Click HERE to submit a prayer request online. Our pastors will be praying for you and sharing concerns with the congregation as requested.
Happy Birthday!
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12 Pat Geadelmann
14 Dave Kabel

First Presbyterian Church | Waterloo, IA | 319-233-6145 | www.1stpresby.org