News from Paxton Methodist, Nov. 28

December 1, 2021 - Hope, peace, love, and joy are the themes, one for each of the four Sundays of Advent. For years I began my sermon with these four words because they sum up what Jesus followers want in their life. It is my hope that each of you found some reason for joy during the time of Thanksgiving. Sue and I had our daughter, my brother, and his wife here in Joaquin for Thanksgiving. Their dogs, Stella and Scally, came with them, and our four dogs had a good time with each other. On Friday most of the humans traveled to Nacogdoches to spend quality time with Sue’s mother, sister, and brother-in-law (and dog): Years of celebrating Thanksgiving together made this group, named The Loose Connections by my mother-in-law, close friends.

During the month of November we have been collecting rice and beans for Community Christian Services. November is almost over, so we look to December, when we will donate cans or boxes of soup. In December, I will start gathering data about the church for the “End-of-Year” reports, a regular part of being a Methodist. I will give Gene, our treasurer, a set of financial questions and he will gather that information. Reports must be turned in before January 12, 2022. That seems so far in the future, but 2022 will be here sooner than we think.

Our Sunday School lesson focused on the promise that things would get better, found in Isaiah 25 and 55. Isaiah is speaking to the well-to-do and those in charge of Temple Worship. He considered the idea of idolatry more than just worshiping a false god; it also included ignoring God’s calls to justice and compassion. Both the Old and New Testaments describe God’s Kingdom as a time and place of plenty to eat, all people treated with dignity, and compassionate care of neighbors.

I used today’s Gospel lesson for the 1st Sunday of Advent, Luke 21: 25-36. During these Sundays leading to Christmas, we are to ponder what it means to be a Jesus follower, trying to reorder our lives more faithfully to the ways of the Christ. Every major religion I know of requires some sort of personal and spiritual transformation as one moves along life’s path. Advent is the Christian’s time to think and plan how to accomplish such things in the coming year. The title of my sermon was “Dark Enough?” I called it that based on the ancient Persians, who said it had to be really dark in order to study the stars, a pursuit they loved. Darkness comes before the dawn, and Advent reminds us that Jesus ushered in God’s Realm; we are to be about bringing God’s ways to everyone we meet.

Our songs Sunday centered on hope and joy. “Victory in Jesus” certainly fits the joyful category and also brings us hope for the future. Post-Thanksgiving Advent is a good time for singing Christmas carols—today was my favorite one, “Joy to the World.” Our bulletin quote expressed hope as well: “Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” The author of these promising words? None other than Stephen King!

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, and Open Minds.” Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist, you can send your email address to the Paxton email address, and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.