December 2019

The Season of Advent is a season of hope and anticipation ... anticipation as we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! This season of the church year begins the first Sunday in December and ends the Sunday before Christmas. The chancel area will once again be adorned in blue, the color of the Advent season, signifying hope for a burdened world.

Hope is the focus of Advent, but for many, preparing for Christmas is a burden. Many factors play into this word "burden." For some Christmas is not a joyous occasion. For some it is a stress-filled time: what to buy, what to cook or bake, who to invite or not invite, anxiety about credit card debt, will there be enough and what if there isn't; and for some within our congregation and community, it's a time of intensified grief and empty seats around the table. All of these things can cause anger, fear and doubt in one's faith journey.

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, wrote a recent article in the 2019 November issue of "Living Lutheran" (available in the magazine basket across from the church office). She addresses what it means to be a faithful Christian living in doubt. She speaks to her memories as a parish pastor and concerns she would hear from parishioners hesitant to discuss their doubts for fear of being judged. She writes, "Somehow, we've gotten it into our heads that doubt has no part of faith, that questions are disloyal, and that anguish and even anger are an offense to God."

Well, I am in total agreement with Bishop Eaton especially when she describes her garden, "Through the snow, through the cold, through the long nights, life had been happening. Without my knowing it, without my doing anything about it, the carrots made it through. Doubt can seem like winter-long, cold, barren. It can feel isolating and lonely." I can truly relate to the last two sentences, as I know many of you reading this may feel, too!

But as I continued to read, what I found comforting were her words, "What is NOT true is that doubt is the absence of faith. Doubt IS a part of faith. Faith, like wintering-over carrots, still lives even in our winters. God still acts and nurtures even when we cannot. Doubt and questioning draw us into a deeper relationship with God. God can take it, and God will carry us through the winter." My only reply was "Amen! Come Lord Jesus!"

So dear friends, as we enter into Advent, the season of preparation and hope in the celebration of the arrival of the living Christ, may our holidays be joyful and/or just a bit brighter knowing our God is one of deep compassion and love for a suffering, burdened world.

And as we sing the familiar hymn, Joy to the World, may the lyrics of Christ's love speak to any doubt and enliven the Spirit within us: "He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove, the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love, and wonders of his love, and wonders, wonders of his love." Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

From my family to you and yours, may the hope of Advent and holy blessing of Christmas fill your hearts through our Lord, Jesus Christ!

The Reverend Nancy L. Moore, Pastor

Service Schedule

Sunday Worship

9:30 a.m.

Sunday School

10:45 a.m.

First Saturday of the Month

5:00 p.m.

First Tuesday of the Month

10:00 a.m.

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