December 15, 2020

Christmas Breakfast at my grandparent’s house was an Event. It officially lasted from the time the first early risers got up until the last late arrivals pushed away from the table, but unofficially it went on for the rest of the day and into the next as the leftovers were nibbled away.

There were biscuits, pancakes, bacon or sausage, eggs any way you wanted them. There were home-made fruit cakes and cinnamon rolls. There were chocolate fudge and divinity and hard candies and chocolate-covered cherries. There were the tiny, sweet Mandarin oranges that were only available for a short time in December. And pies! Mincemeat and apple and pumpkin! Read about Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol, and you’ll get a good idea of what Christmas Breakfast was like for us.

Grandma, known to all as Mom, made some of this in advance, but Christmas Day was different. On the Day, my grandfather, Pop, did all the cooking himself on the old wood range that kept the kitchen so warm and toasty. And what a crowd there was! One year my own mom decided that as her gift to Pop and everyone else, she would personally wash all the dishes. She kept track: it took her all day, and she washed the dishes for 53 people.

As glorious as our breakfast was, as satisfied and content as we were, and as hard as Pop worked, our Christmas Breakfast couldn’t hold a candle to the Messianic Banquets that Jesus served to his guests on two occasions.

At the first and more famous banquet, reported in all four Gospels, Jesus had so many guests that only the heads of household were counted: five thousand of them! Matthew specifically tells us (Matt. 14:21) that there were 5,000 men, plus women and children. (So who do you suppose did the dishes for, say, fifteen to twenty thousand people?) Not only did they did they have enough to eat that they were all satisfied (Matt. 14:20), but the disciples had 12 baskets of leftovers.

At the second banquet (reported by Matthew and Mark), there were “only” four thousand men, plus women and children. Again, everyone ate and was satisfied; again, there were abundant leftovers. Much later, on one of their trips with Jesus, the disciples were worrying that they have forgotten to bring any bread (Matthew 16). He scolded them gently: “Don’t you remember the times I fed thousands of people with only a little food? We have other problems than where our lunch is coming from!” It was shortly after this that Simon first said out loud what they had finally begun to understand: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

An Advent Prayer: 
Dear Lord, as we feast with our families and friends this Christmas season – in person, in spirit, or even in memory – help us to remember that you are our true host, and be satisfied. We ask your most special blessing on Chef Tim and the other food ministries of St. John’s and of our city. Show us what we can to do to help bring your feast to those who need it the most, in turn showing them what it means to follow the Christ, the Son of the living God. Amen.

-- Regina Hunter
Mondays | 10:00 am & Tuesdays | 7:00 pm
"Incarnation" is a new 5-session Advent and Christmas study by Adam Hamilton, bringing a message of hope in the context of this complicated season of pandemic and elections. What can we learn from the names used for Jesus by the prophets, the shepherds, the wise men, and the angels? Let us reflect together on the significance of the Christ child for our lives and for the world today. This Zoom study will be held on Monday mornings (Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21 and Jan. 4), with a 10:00 am study led by CLM Mike Furnish (mdfurnish@comcast.net) and Tuesday evenings (Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 and Jan. 5) at 7:00 pm led by CLM Joe Marshall (jmarshall62@gmail.com). Please contact either leader if interested. The study book can be purchased from Cokesbury.com.
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!
Regina Hunter reads Isaiah 35:1-10
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.
Wednesdays during Advent | 11:00 am - 11:30 am & 4:30 - 5:00 pm
Communion will be offered on December 16 and 23 in the west parking lot. You may “drive-by” between 11:00-11:30 and 4:30-5:00 p.m. Pastors Pam and Kelly will consecrate the elements with the gathered community at the beginning of each of these time slots. Individual cups with a wafer on the top will be provided. If you feel more comfortable bringing your own bread and juice, please feel free to do so. Chief Tim will also be assisting with the serving and with a prayer.
Wednesdays | 12:00 pm
Join us for a series of concerts live-streamed from the St. John's sanctuary! Concerts are a benefit for Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless. Musicatstjohns.org

Ken Medema Livestream Concert
Join us for a very special St. John’s concert by Ken Medema, live from his home in northern California. Ken will invite your stories of favorite Christmases, and will improvise songs!

Sol Calypso
Join Alexis Corbin, Hovey Corbin, and family members for a fun and festive Christmas concert.
Home of Fay and Colin Barz & Ben McCarty
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 communicate@stjohns-abq.org.
Saturday, December 19 | 1:30 pm
Bosque del Apache (south of San Antonio, NM, 90 minutes drive from St. John's)
Saturday, December 19 Afternoon
Walking route ~5 miles, level (options for shorter walks)
Meet 1:30 PM at St. John's East Parking Lot or 3:30 at the Bosque; return by 7:30 PM
$5 per vehicle admission to the preserve (or use a Parks Pass).

In the midst of the New Mexico high desert, the Bosque del Apache in winter is a superb site for watching waterfowl. We have chosen the afternoon time to watch flocks return to roost, as well as to enjoy the sunset, while we walk through the Bosque and God's handiwork. This is a time truly set apart from our everyday.

Watch for more details closer to the time. Please call Debbie Brown at the church office to reserve a space (505-883-9717); we are limiting group size for Covid safety.​
Would you be interested in submitting a daily devotional for the Newsletter? If so, send an email to Pastor Pam at prowley@stjohns-abq.org! 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 mgreer@stjohns-abq.org.

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 communicate@stjohns-abq.org