December 18, 2020
Dear Prairie Avenue Family,
'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through Prairie Avenue. Your pastor is busy, getting the season worked out.
We are preparing the way to receive the one born to save. We will recognize the losses we have recently experienced in 2020 this Sunday evening on Facebook Live at 7 pm, join the Christmas eve festivities with one in-person service at 7 pm and two live stream sessions (one at 7 pm, the other at 9 pm).
With approved vaccines and beginning to be administered from frontline healthcare workers to the general public according to risks, it may be appropriate to consider our shortest day (December 20-21) as the turning towards a new dawn. God is always doing an unexpected thing at an unexpected place. Coming to undocumented parents (by not having an official place to register "No Room at the Inn), living among the people rather than among the powers and powerful, and coming to save.
The light has overcome the darkness. The darkness cannot overcome the light. Never has. Never will.
As we approach the season of Christmas, even with COVID-19 restrictions and expectations in place shifting our traditions and limiting our gatherings, I hope you look to the Christ child, pray for the new day coming, and plan your return to our gatherings in 2021.
WORSHIP THIS WEEKEND - Where We Belong-God's Unexpected Journey
King David is at peace with his enemies, both within Israel and beyond it. God has seen to it, spreading peace and tranquility. But King David is troubled by the living arrangements of God in the Tabernacle tent in Jerusalem. He wants to improve God's comforts and accommodations. With peace in abundance, the prophet Nathan also permits David to begin a construction project, a temple to show the glory of God among the people.
But God already lives among the people and does not need a residence to live in. We may prepare a place, but God may see through our plans and agendas towards housing God for our own glory. God's address is always forward to you. With love. Whenever we set God into a place, we often then forget to go and visit.
God reverses David's attempt at building a residence for God. Instead, God will move into the house of David, and make an everlasting family dynasty. While Solomon's temple (and Nehemiah's, followed by Herod the Great's) construction projects will be destroyed, God's promise to David and his descendants will never end. Indeed, the child born to Mary is of the house of David. But a ruler who arrives not in David's palace (destroyed by the Babylonians) or Herod the Great's Herodium, will have a neverending reign.
God lives with us. The ultimate expression of love with us.
OTHER NEWS THIS WEEK
Christmas Special Offering The Disciples Special Christmas Offering supports our regional church staff and programming. It provides support for the School of Ministry, an alternative to traditional seminary coursework to provide a certificate of pastoral ministry to serve as Commissioned Ministers. It helps maintain our regional campground at Camp Walter Scott in Effingham. 100% of offering receipts remain in the region. Please consider your generosity for these important ministries.
Longest Night Service Sunday, December 20, 7 pm Facebook LIVE People have undergone unprecedented loss this year. Family and friends have succumbed to death in this pandemic, millions have lost economic security through the loss of jobs, some have lost businesses they built over a lifetime. Most of us have lost our beloved rhythms of life that felt familiar and gave our lives the richness of gatherings and adventure. And we can name so many losses related to hatred and violence. Each of the candles will represent some aspect of loss, while the white candle represents Christ in the midst of our losses. During this meaningful service, we will recognize the loss of life, livelihood, love, and liveliness. We hope this new tradition will provide presence and purpose to those who may find it difficult to join in the joy of the festivities of this season.
See you in worship this weekend!