December 12, 2020

Scripture: Luke 2:15-19

Memories are precious to me this Advent season more so than ever. I can’t go back to Illinois to be with my three children. I can’t go to Washington State to see my other daughter. I can only see my littlest grandkids over Facetime (and they tend to view Facetime as improv theater where showing me their feet or their tonsils is the height of hilarity – to them). Well, this COVID world is what it is and it’s not forever, and so, in the meantime, I turn to memories . . .

-going to cut down our Christmas tree and the hours of walking and looking to find and decide on the PERFECT ONE!
-dividing up the candy in our two youngest kids’ stockings exactly equally, even to the various colors of M&Ms!
-taking pictures of our twins every year in front of my mom and dad’s fireplace, the bricks nicely measuring their growth.

But my favorite memory is from the Christmas Eve service, all of us holding lit candles, standing in a circle, singing “Silent Night.” The moment the candles were lit, I would forget everything about getting ready for Christmas that was not so pleasant to remember: stressed-out shopping, staying up so late wrapping presents, money worries, the kids’ gift requests (i.e. demands) and so on.

So all this remembering as to how I so easily forget the more unpleasant stuff got me thinking back to the first Christmas. Do I forget something there too? Is my focus too narrow? What am I missing?

Usually I focus on the beautiful parts of Christmas: the angels, the quaint stable, the smell of new hay in the manger, the tender care of Joseph over his family, the good mothering of Mary – and, of course, the baby Jesus.

But today I am realizing that the reality of all of the Christmas story is more a record of disruption:

-an engaged pregnant teenager, but the father is not her fiance
-surely unbelief . . . scandal . . . talk . . . outrage . . .maybe even danger
-a stay with her cousin until things calm down
-then another leaving - to Bethlehem, with the town perhaps breathing a collective sigh of relief to have them gone
-the birth in a cold, dirty, smelly barn
-danger again and escape to Egypt and life as a refugee

I have to remind myself that when Mary said to Gabriel, “I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.”, she had no idea what she was opening herself up to.

So as I come into this Advent season, and seek to open myself up to the coming of the Christ Child, the question on my mind is “What am I opening myself up to?” I could keep it safe, and Christmas eve and the candlelight will still be there for me . . . OR . . . I could open myself to the possibility of allowing God’s HOLY DISRUPTION into my life, opening myself to whatever He chooses to bring and loosing control in the process.

But why? Why should I do this? Why go farther? Why not keep everything the same?

Because I know that without allowing God’s Holy Disruption into my life, I will NEVER be able to sing the Magnificat with Mary and join with her in the exultation:

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. . . . He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1: 46-47, 49)

Mary sure didn’t know what lay ahead: the scandal, the stable, the shepherds and wise men, the flight into Egypt, and her son’s death by torture. But even so, she opened herself up to God’s Holy Disruption into her life – a Disruption that forever changed the world.

Lord, give me the strength to open myself daily to your Holy Disruption, to say to you, “Here am I, Lord, ready for what you bring, no matter what you bring.” Amen. So be it.

-- Lyn Fitz
Saturday, December 12 | 12:00 - 4:00 pm
This is a difficult season for many, and this year our grief is even more tender and apparent. You are invited to join Pastor Pam in a Holiday Grief Workshop on December 12th, 12:00-4:00 pm by Zoom as we go through some helpful tools to acknowledge our grief, to help us better understand our feelings and emotions, and as we take sweet care of ourselves during this “unusual” holiday season. Please make a reservation by emailing Debbie at so that some materials may be sent to you. A Zoom invite will then be emailed to you.
Saturday, December 12 | 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers is a unique, meditative worship service that features some of New Mexico’s best professional jazz musicians. Jazz Vespers occurs on the 2nd Saturday of each month at 5:00 pm in the St. John’s United Methodist Church sanctuary.
We are planning a special “virtual choir” video of “Joy to the World” for the Christmas Eve service, and we’d love to have has many St. John’s members as possible participate. All you have to do is take a quick video of yourself singing the carol while listening to a prerecorded track, and submit it for Jim Ahrend and Shea Perry to work their magic with. Your family’s video will be mixed with all the others to make a huge, joyful, congregational carol.

Click HERE for instructions on how to submit your video. All ages are welcome! Please submit your recording by Wednesday, December 16!
CHRISTMAS FOOD BOXES (2020 Adjusted Version) for the John Marshall Community Center
  Once again interested St. John's church members are invited to participate in our program of providing Christmas food boxes to needy families served by the John Marshall Community Center in the south Broadway area of Albuquerque. The Center will be reaching out to families in the area who use their services. The need is tremendous and our participation is much appreciated. This year’s timeline looks like this:

*by Sunday, December 13, 2020, or sooner, commit to Jack Nuzum (tel. 265-5241, as to the number of boxes which will be provided and by whom. There is a suggested LIST OF CONTENTS for the boxes that Jack will provide. Click this LINK for the list, or ask Jack to send it directly.

*on Saturday, December 19, 2020, bring the completed boxes to the west side of St. John’s between 8 and 9:00 AM. Empty boxes are available if needed. Call Jack on how to pick them up.
During Advent you are invited to participate in personal Advent Evening Prayer and Worship in the comfort of your home at the close of each day. Download this guide HERE.
These are a few of the Nativity sets I have collected through the years. The picture (partially seen) that hangs above was taken when I walked along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

The “ snow village” reminds me of the small town in middle Tennessee where I grew up. From my upstairs bedroom window I could see the clock tower on our beautiful town courthouse. All of my Christmas decorations bring back many precious memories of family, friends, travels, and above all, the reason for the season…JESUS.

-- Katherine Dyer
Let’s share the spirit of Advent and Christmas by sharing photos of our at-home altar spaces, the lighting of Advent candles, and our holiday decorations! Please also consider sharing a favorite Advent & Christmas activity or memory! Email your photos and a description to Shea at
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at! Please include the following items when writing a devotion:
  • A Focus Word or Phrase
  • A Scripture (it can simply be referenced)
  • One page of a Devotion
  • A Prayer or a Spiritual Practice
Sundays | 9:30 & 11:00 am
St. John’s will live-stream a worship service on Sunday morning at 9:30 am (Contemporary) on the Abide Facebook page and 11:00 am (Traditional) on our Youtube Channel. We hope you’ll worship with us! (Pastors Pam and Kelly will lead, along with Shea Perry, Jim Ahrend, and Matt Greer). We hope that you’ll participate by singing and praying at home! Any questions? Email Matt at

Sunday Community Activities: Click HERE to view all Sunday School Classes & groups! Join us in the virtual Sonshine Coffee Zoom immediately following the 11:00 am Worship with church Leadership Team members hosting. Zoom registration is HERE.
Prayer Requests:
The Gruen family in the passing into glory of Marge

Ann Boland and family in the passing into glory of Bob

Roger and Donna Eaton in the passing of sister Virginia Davis

Donna Bruce in the passing of her brother

Karen and Hal Tidler in the passing of their brother-in-law
Kelly Giese is the recipient for the prayer quilt on display for December 7 - December 20.

In lieu of tying knots, please pray this prayer (or your own prayer) for Kelly: “Loving Lord, we ask that as Kelly moves forward to a new location and a new ministry, may your Holy Spirit lead and guide her and keep her steadfast, always abounding in your work and in your love. Amen."
 DECEMBER SPECIAL OFFERING: Two Ministries for Children
This month, we have the opportunity to support two wonderful ministries dealing with children. The Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas, has helped troubled children (ages 12-18) find a place to heal and grow in a loving Christian environment for over 125 years. Younger children thrive in homes of loving foster parents. “They (MCH) are here for me when no one else is.” “They never give up on us.” “I now know that God’s going to be there for me.
      A second Methodist-supported haven for children is Providence Place in San Antonio, Texas. Its motto says it all: “Giving God’s Children a Faith, a Family, a Future.” “Providence Place loved me and helped me make the best decision for my child without any pressure,” said one birth mother in the open adoption program. And, as an adoptive couple puts it, “It is indescribable the joy that Abby has brought into our lives.” Providence Place also helps young adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities develop their full potential and learn to live on their own with minimal assistance.  Both of these fine ministries rely on our generous donations.
Contact Us
(505) 883-9717
2626 Arizona St NE | Albuquerque, NM 87110
Office Hours (call only): Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Questions? Contact Shea Perry at