Farnham & St. John's
The Weekly Message
 "Hope, Peace, Joy, Love"
Maybe it was the bright, crisp, sunny day after several of overcast skies. Maybe it was lunch at Lee’s with a dear friend and heartening conversation about life and home places and how to maneuver these “maturing” (better sounding than “aging”) years. Maybe it was rolling “leggings” (yoga clothing) for 60 some girls in Sri Lanka that my daughter was going to teach and mentor half a world away and what I had to offer was to roll “grandmotherly” love into the clothes that had been donated and had to fit into one carryon suitcase. Maybe it was rolling dog biscuit dough for several hundred dog biscuits, then watching Renfro and Xena (two of our four legged parishioners) dance and twirl for those doggy treats at the Warsaw Holiday Market, attracting the audiences young and
older who might buy something from the St. John’s church ECW table last Saturday. Maybe it was sitting around the Parish House parlor fire at Advent “tea and conversation” times with something sweet and something savory on a “lap” plate, something warm to drink, but especially savoring the easy conversation on a crazy, delightful range of topics. Maybe it was driving slowly along Monument Avenue in Richmond last night, taking in the amazing array of light decorations – creatively clothing those old mansions. As if the houses wanted to update their winter wardrobes with light filled, glowing finery. As if to say,
“Hey, everyone it’s time to shine, make merry, show joy! Mid-winter doesn’t have to be bleak.” Maybe it was re-telling the story of the Littlest Angel, last Sunday. A story that mirrors the highs and lows of gift giving, hoping and wondering if “what I can I give Him” is good enough. Then, as the story unfolds realizing that whoever we are and whatever we offer, when brought forth out of love is not only good enough but becomes shining and beautiful in God’s heart and the eyes of the others around us. At least the eyes of those that have eyes to see the glow of it and the amazing value that matters when we and what we offer comes from a hopeful and true heart. Maybe it was finding a delightful little gift for a grandchild that I sensed would light up his/her heart because it uniquely matched what I was seeing happening in that child’s “becoming.” Maybe it was simply waking up this morning, pausing before getting up and recognizing some delicate feeling of peace warming me somewhere inside.

Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. Don’t know when these labels began to be attached to each Sunday in Advent. A name imagined for each candle to be lit in our Advent wreath. But it is brilliant – this slow steady quiet lighting moving us into, through and up to Christmas morning. A little more light in the darkness each week preparing us for what’s to be gifted, offered and then opened to us at the end of our season of Advent. Simple gifts each. Profound, deeply essential gifts for life. Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. 

For me, maybe I just needed this slow, delicate procession of some little light re-lit in me by tiny but brilliant moments warming my insides again, nurturing some interior glow that would shed refreshed light along the journey we call life. It’s the idea perhaps that in order to get ready for something big and bright, we need to see and take in the little light filled times. Honor them, give at least momentary thanks for them. Allow their pinpoint of clarity to light up something inside of us. They warm us along the way. They help us see just how important light is for our well-being. Sometimes we need just enough light to grace the next step along the path. And step by step we come to trust that there will be yet one more step forward and enough light from a light filled Source to show us that next step with focus and clarity. Maybe we only come to understand that, this trust thing, in mid-winter times.
If the borders of this message show up on whatever you use as you read this message, you will see details of the exquisite tapestry pattern of the fabric that clothes the altar hangings at St. John’s. The beautiful interweaving of colors and shapes that compose what appears to be an overall pattern that has a unique vibrancy and motion to it. And I think of the Great Weaver, Interweaver, of the tapestry, the cloth of life, of each of our lives. The Weaver lovingly threading the strands our lives offer for the great loom. I think of the weaver holding the threads and slowly but surely moving them in and out up and down, interlaced with surety and deftness, an evolving creation. 

I wonder if the threads of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love have unique colors, like the colors in any tapestry. I wonder how those colors appear to give richness, depth, texture and pattern to a life. I wonder if the lights of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love have the same colors as the brilliant colors in the light filled clothing of those houses along Monument Avenue I saw last night. Don’t we each have a deep longing, an essential desire for our life to have meaning, design and light about it. I want the threads my life has to offer the weaver to be something wonderful to work with. But whatever they are, dark or light, rich or poor, thick or thin, bright or soft, glad or sad, I want to trust that in the hands of the Weaver they may be made into something beautiful. Isn’t that what we all long for? 

 When Christmas morning comes, may you find yourself clothed in Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and Light . . . .


The childhood story of The Littlest Angel was composed originally as an unproduced radio script in 1939 by Charles Tazewell, a radio playwright and children's book author, then published in book form in 1945 and later adapted several times for film and radio.      
Check out last Sunday's sermon (linked here ) which concludes with a re-telling of the story.  
Last Week at Farnham & St. John's
Sunday at St. John's Coffee Hour
Dr. Torre Hinnant (Torrence's daughter) will give a short presentation updating us on the Sri Lankan girls and the benefits of the 2018-19 donations their Christian School received from St. John's and other Episcopal Churches.

the girls' faces are not shown because it's dangerous for them should this be distributed: in their culture, girls are not supposed to be in school.
Time Sensitive!
Parishioners at St. John's & Farnham have the chance to participate in the second annual HAITIAN MEAL PACKAGING EVENT to be held SATURDAY, JANUARY 18th from 10 a.m. to 12 p,m, to be held at the Rappahannock High School gym. Farnham parishioners contact Sue Crowley (804-238-3405 or lilnut22460@gmail.com) to sign up for this. St. John's parishioners contact Torrence (436-7591 or torrence.harman@aol.com) to sign up. We are trying to gather ten folks from each church to mount two teams for the event. It was a wonderful and amazing experience for those of us who did this last year. There is a fee of $35 per person which covers the materials, etc. Torrence has available funds to cover this $35 fee for any of the youth of the churches who sign up.  Please let Sue and Torrence know ASAP if you want to team up with us to do this since we need to file the paperwork for it very soon. This is a great opportunity to reach out and help within our larger world community.
FARNHAM’s Congregational Meeting will be January 12 th and ST. JOHN’s will be January 19 thFARNHAM reports should be in the church office no later than January 7th in order to have the secretary compile the packet for the meeting. Send reports in via E-mail to parishchurchnews@gmail.com as soon as possible.

If any of you have updated telephone numbers, addresses, or e-mail information, please provide it to the church office, parishchurchnews@gmail.com for the 2020 Church Directory.
Don't forget the
Church Office is CLOSED
until January 7 th .
The next E-pistle will be sent January 7 th (or 8 th .)
In the Church
Sunday December 22 nd
Morning Prayer

4 th Sunday in Advent

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's

Tuesday December 24 th
Holy Eucharist

4:30 p.m. at Farnham
Christmas Celebration & Holy Eucharist

10:30 p.m. at St. John's
Christmas Eve Service & Holy Communion
Sunday December 29 th
1 st Sunday after Christmas

Lessons & Carols

10:00 a.m. at Farnham

Sunday January 5 th
2 nd Sunday after Christmas
Holy Eucharist

9:00 a.m. at Farnham

11:00 a.m. at St. John's

Mark Your Calendar

Come Worship With Us
Sunday Service this week

9:00 a.m. at Farnham Church

11:00 a.m. St. John's Church

Farnham Church
St. John's Church