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Newsletter

 

DECEMBER 2017 NEWSLETTER

 

 

God’s beloved children,

As I have been thinking about the Advent season that starts Sunday, and the Christmas season coming soon, (Did you catch that.  The season of Christmas doesn’t begin until Christmas Day!), I have been thinking about “What if” questions.  Maybe this is happening because, like we do every year, Kay and I will watch It’s a Wonderful Life, which asks “What if George Bailey had never been born,” or Muppet Christmas Carole (I hear there’s a book, too), which asks “What if Scrooge had been nicer?”

What If’s make for interesting stories and wishful ponderings:  A driver might wonder, “What if I didn’t make that red light?  I wouldn’t have gotten in this accident.”  A patient might ask “What if I didn’t put off that exam.”  I think the interest in What If’s is that they point to a different potential present.  For example:

What if JFK had not been killed?  There would have been no President Johnson who escalated fighting in Vietnam far higher than JFK would have.  50,000 American soldiers would not have been killed.  What if one of those soldiers would have cured cancer?  On the other hand, if Johnson had not become President, there would have been no Civil Rights Act or Voting Rights Act.  Kennedy had little interest in civil rights.

What does this have to do with Advent and Christmas?  Well, what if Jesus had never been born?  What if he died from catching e coli because he slept is a feeding trough we whimsically call a manger?  Actually, that’s not what I am contemplating.

What If’s can be interesting, but they are always dangerous and the danger is that they link today with yesterday.  While What If’s tie the present to the past, the incarnation that we celebrate at Christmas makes the past irrelevant.  The birth of the Bethlehem baby announces a new covenant and a new empire (kingdom).  It’s about tomorrow.

Now, you are learning how much I enjoy history.  I love to learn about yesterday.  I am also VERY sentimental about my family and friends.  I am not suggesting that nostalgia is a bad thing.  But, consider this: As we think about human brokenness and the realities of sin, it becomes clear that we bring so much of that brokenness and sin into today from yesterday.  It was some yesterday that my neighbor played his radio too loudly, that someone got the job I deserved, or hurt someone I loved.  I bring that yesterday into today and that creates one of two things – fear or hate.  Furthermore, our own brokenness is about yesterday.  Unhealthy behaviors, guilts, anxieties, and relationships all come into today from yesterday.

Again, what does this have to do with Advent and Christmas?  Advent is about waiting.  Advent makes today to be about the future.  Jesus’ birth points to his resurrection and endless tomorrows, and our own, too.  Advent and Christmas invite us to imagine a tomorrow that is linked in no way to the past.  I can love my neighbor tomorrow because I either don’t remember or don’t care about the loud music.  I can love myself tomorrow if I can just forget something from the past.  It is even scriptural to talk about God not remembering – “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins,” (Isaiah 43:25).

There is a word that refers to the ability to disconnect today from yesterday.  Hope.  Hope imagines a tomorrow that is even better than today.  While fear and hate come from making today about yesterday, hope comes from making today about the future you are promised at your resurrection and before.  How much better can today be when we replace yesterday’s fear with hope and the past’s hate with love?  There is a difference between wishing and hoping.  A wish involves an uncertain outcome and has no power to influence the present.  Hope, on the other hand, has the power to change today by helping us let go of tomorrow and live into the certainty of God’s promises.  Jesus is not a genie who grants wishes.  Jesus is our Savior who gives hope.  Jesus frees us from yesterday and creates peace and a different potential present by leading us into tomorrow.

That’s why we celebrate.  Merry Christmas!  God bless us, everyone.        

Pastor Steve

 

Our December Mission is our Tree of Love.  We have 60 names of girls and boys who could desperately use our gifts this season.  You may take a tag off the tree and purchase a gift(s) for approximately $15.00, then wrap and return the gifts, labeled as to who they are for to the Church by December 17th for distribution by Help Them To Hope.  Thank you for your generosity.

 

Cost of alter flowers will be increasing to $20.00 in January of 2018.

 

In November we welcomed 9 new members into our Church family:

                        Grace and Craig Albrecht

                        Betty and Stan Charles

                        Kay Crittenden

                        Jane DuFrane

                        Jean and Stan DuFrane

                        Suanne Halvorson.

WELCOME!!!!

Our Advent services will be held December 6, 13, and 20th at 10:15 in the Sanctuary.  Soup and dessert will follow each service.  Join us in worship as we celebrate the true meaning of this season.

There is a new a face in the office.  Bev Hert has been hired as our office manager.  Bev, her husband Bob and son David moved here from Idaho and they, like most, are glad to have left the cold and snow.  Please feel free to visit her with any questions our suggestions you may have.  Bev may also be reached by email at bev@epiphanyofchristlutheran.org

Our offering envelopes for 2018 are now available.  Please see Bev after any service to pick up your pre-numbered envelopes and at the same time we would like to update our contact information.  Thank you for your cooperation with this. 

Poinsettias for our Christmas Services may now be ordered at a cost of $20.00 each.  Please pick up a form displayed in the Narthex or you may call the office.

If you are able, please consider volunteering at one of our worship services.  See Betty Schmiedel if you would like to sign-up.

 

 

December 2016               December 2017

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016              September 2017

August 2016                     August 2017

July 2016                          July 2017

June 2016                        June 2017

May 2016                         May 2017

April 2016                        April 2017

March 2016                     March 2017

February 2016                 February 2017

January 2016                  January 2017

 

 

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