Start your engines! On your mark, get ready, and begin the race to do your Christmas shopping! Years ago a friend of ours shared this story with us.
It had been a very frustrating day of Christmas shopping. The crowds were large and not very polite. It was a chore just moving through the stores to find the gifts that one wanted to buy, assuming one was lucky enough to find the particular item once they found the right shelf. The cash register lines were long and unforgiving, and the store workers made no secret of their feeling that they themselves were stressed and overworked.
A woman, after a much too long day, with most of her purchases made, had just about reached her limit as she began to leave the department store. As the doors of the elevator finally closed, she muttered to herself and anyone else who would listen,
“Whoever started this crazy idea of Christmas shopping should be hauled out, beaten, and strung up!”
A quiet voice from the back of the elevator replied,
“It’s already been done. And they used a cross.”
This year, if we get too busy trying to get ready for the Christmas season, try to remember why we are doing all this.
The one who was hauled out, beaten, and hung on the cross – he was born in Bethlehem so that we might live forever. The eternal life that was given to us as a gift on that first Easter is better than anything else we will find under a Christmas tree. It was given to us by the one who promised,
I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.
Once the preparations are done, and most of the gifts are wrapped and under the tree, I hope you will be able to join us Christmas Eve to celebrate the arrival of Jesus.
If you’d like a way to bring the love and grace of Jesus back into the center of December this year, look for the “Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar”( 2015-12 Random-Acts-of-Kindness-Calendar) included in this issue of the newsletter on the links page. And then participate in these ways of sharing love – and maybe make up a few of your own!
And if you need a break from the busy preparations between now and then, stop in and join us at church on Sunday mornings to be reintroduced to the one who came and started this crazy celebrating.
We also invite you to check out our Adult Sunday school class who meet in the Fellowship Hall Parlor (next to the kitchen). We are looking at “A Different Kind of Christmas” to draw our entire families into closer fellowship with God as we respond to this Christmas season and the call of God to live generously all year around.
As we celebrate the One who came to dwell with us,
May God Bless Us with a Special Season of Christmas Preparations!
The month of November has two holidays that we celebrate in the Christian Church in the United States. The first holiday we think of in relation to November is Thanksgiving, celebrated on the fourth Thursday. The other holiday that I have in mind is All Saints’ Day, celebrated on the first day of November.
In recent generations, All Saints Day has been overshadowed by its fore evening, Halloween. If you remember, the Trick or Treating night’s name comes from “All Hallows (Saints) Eve.” In recent years, the Fairmont church youth groups have put a twist on “Trick or Treat” with “Trick or Eat”, an evening the week before Halloween of going door to door to collect items for our local food shelves.
When we bracket this month of November with these two holidays of All Saints’ Day and Thanksgiving, and as we see our local fields which recently produced better than expected yields, we find ourselves with a month of being thankful.
The religious Pilgrims held a Feast of Thanksgiving to celebrate their gratefulness to God for freedom, a bountiful land, and for life itself.
9The Lord spoke to Moses: 10Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. – Leviticus 23:9 – 10
The theme of thanksgiving continues when I remember All Saints’ Sunday. When I celebrate All Saints’, I remember those I know who have died this past year. I also remember persons who have died in previous years who have been important to me and persons who I have loved.
All Saints’ Day is also a day to remember and give thanks for the persons who have gone before us from this church – who in their faithfulness and vision for the future been a part of giving us this gift of our church. I encourage you to reflect and consider who those people are in the life of our church family who have made this church a reality for you and me. Consider also the legacy we are creating for the generations who will follow us.
You see, the compliment of “thanksgiving” is “giving.” We also should consider what gift we are willing to give to the future generations of our church family. Our faithful participation in the ministries of the church through our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness while we are alive will assure a church where future generations will be able to worship God and love one another.
In November, take some time (maybe even on November 1st, or During our Community Thanksgiving Eve Service hosted by Fairmont UMC, and even around our tables on Thanksgiving Day) to be thankful for what God has given us, and to be thankful for those in our lives who have passed on the blessings of God to us. As we hear in our Communion Great Thanksgiving Prayer,
It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to our God, the giver of all good things!
May God Bless Us!
This fall, we are entering an exciting new chapter in the 150 year-old life of our congregation. We are making plans for our next chapter in the ministry of our congregation. We face some important decisions about which directions our ministry will take and how we can make best use of our resources to fulfil these ministries.
These decisions will directly impact what paid church staff positions we will fill in the months ahead.
We have developed an all-church questionnaire to gather your thoughts and insights about where we should go as a congregation. A copy of this is included in this month’s newsletter. It was also distributed during our Sunday morning worship the last Sunday in September.
We will use the insights from this questionnaire during an all-church retreat in October, during which we will chart the course and make ministry staffing decisions to best bring us to this desired ministry future. Be looking for more information about this retreat as we confirm the leadership of this important time together.
Our vision today as a congregation is
Resounding God’s Grace!
• Relating with love and grace
• Radically welcoming our guests
• Reaching out to our communities in love
This is related to the mission of United Methodists around the world. We United Methodists believe it is the mission of the church to
Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
We are in ministry here in Fairmont so that we may accomplish these things!
We need your help in this process! So please participate in this important questionnaire and be a part of our church retreat.
And in the meantime, we’ll be looking for you in church!
And outside our doors serving our neighbors in love! As we do so,
May God Bless Us!