December 2, 2019 - Grace and peace from our brother and savior, Jesus, Amen. We have begun a New Year on the ancient Christian calendar. This is the year of Matthew, so most of the lessons will come from Matthew’s Gospel in 2020. That sounds so weird—2020! It seems like just yesterday we were worried about all the computers shutting down as we entered a new century! Well, that obviously didn’t happen, as most all of us carry a powerful computer in our hands—the smart phone.
Texas weather brought us some warm temperatures and high humidity along with strong winds. I have used the leaf blower several times to no avail. When I got up this morning (Thursday) one of the big national news stories was SFA men’s basketball team beating #1 Duke. Go, Lumberjacks! I went by Community Christian Services this past Tuesday to drop off beans and rice for their food bank. Rev. Jody was busy at work; it’s always nice to visit with him. During the month of December Paxton Methodist members will collect cans of soup for CCS.
I hope everyone had a really nice Thanksgiving. Our kids and my brother and sister-in-law came to our house for Thanksgiving. Jacob brought Audrey—we really enjoyed having her visit and getting to know her. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, chocolate pies, and other traditional foods, but also a fair number of vegan dishes for our son. We all ate more than our fill: The only downer was the Cowboy game. They looked really weak. Friday our company headed home, including our grand-dog Stella, who has been with us while our daughter was in Morocco.
We started a new unit in Sunday school simply titled “Hope.” Gene read our scripture lesson from Genesis 12: 1-9, where God asks Abram to leave everything and go to a land that would be given to him. Ms. Fannie had a great lesson, and we shared memories about moves in our life times. Our author stressed hope and trust, which are definitely strong Advent themes. Life would certainly seem futile without hope.
On this first Sunday of the month we celebrated Holy Communion. Fannie is our faithful communion steward who prepares the bread and juice. She also had such pretty candles set out for our Advent reading. Caroline gave Sue a series of prayers to read during the lighting of the Advent candles. The poinsettias, artistically rendered by Roy at Sunshine, looked beautiful at the altar. Fannie had the bulletin ready for the Paxton Community Christmas Program on December 17. We always enjoy hosting so many of our friends and neighbors. Last year, it was cold and rainy for our program, but I hope for better this year.
The First Sunday of Advent is like starting to circle back to Bethlehem, revisiting that first Christmas with all its accompanying stories. I read in preparing my sermon that Christmas is a season of childhood, while Advent is a season for adults to grow spiritually. I am trying to read very carefully the words from Matthew about the coming of the Kingdom and the coming of Christ. Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote, “Earth is crammed with heaven…” That statement is so true, but we often are oblivious to Kingdom moments that happen all around us.
This week we would normally be going to Focused Care, but both our piano players are out of pocket, so we rescheduled. November’s day for Lakeside would have been Thanksgiving—that too was rescheduled, to last Tuesday instead. As usual, I emceed, speaking about Advent, and sharing anecdotes between songs. Minnie was our trusty pianist, leaving Hilda free to sing with the group. I honored both of them, plus our faithful Margie, during the program. Ollie read a poem called “The Night Before Jesus Returned,” in the style of Clement Moore. Sue followed with a book that did the same, titled The Night Before Thanksgiving. Gene did non-traditional versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Away in a Manger.” Good to have him and Maggie with us again. Nora “sang a book,” an illustrated “Over the River and Through the Woods.” She also dedicated to the audience her stirring song, “Thank You for Giving to the Lord.”
Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.