I am so ready. As I write this mid-week note, I am listening to my favorite Christmas album, and thinking back to all the "Songs of the Season" that have gotten us ready throughout this Advent.
- When I listen to "Bring a Torch, Jeannette , Isabella" I think of quietly praying and humming to myself as Pam Myers played that song as an instrumental offertory at the beginning of Advent.
- When I listen to "Jingle Bells" I think of The Well band playing in the background as I watched an 86 year old great grandmother working alongside a teenager at last Sunday's service project.
- When I listen to "The First Noel," I think of our Sanctuary, full to the balcony with folks who want to hear our choir share the story and praises of the nativity. I think of the young father who shook my hand afterward with a giant grin as he said "That was awesome!" and the other father who said "That was just what I needed to get rejuvenated for Christmas"!"
And when I hear "The Little Drummer Boy" I think of all the ways we have brought gifts to honor Christ the King.
- Through our Benevolence Ministry, we have provided Christmas gifts for 34 children in 12 different families. On Monday, another 17 families in need received boxes of groceries that will keep their stomachs full through the Christmas season.
- We are sending more than 400 gifts to our local police station, firehouse, hospital, saloons, and any where else we could find where people will be working late on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- By combining our own efforts with other churches, we have provided Christmas Cookies for over 600 inmates).
- With some gifts still coming in, we have collected over $2000 for the United Methodist Children's Home.
I hope the Songs of the Season have become equally full of meaning and memory for you. And I hope you will join us on Thursday, Christmas Eve, as we hear the song the angels sang when the Light of the World came to live among us. At both of our Christmas Eve worship services, there will be music, and memory, and there will be one more chance to bring our gifts in honor of Christ the King.
In keeping with our musical theme for Advent and Christmas, I asked our Mission Committee several months ago to consider some way that we might bless children in our community who are in need of more music and joy. One member of our Mission Committee called Northwood Elementary, which is both (1) Crestview's closest school to us geographically, and (2) the school with the largest proportion of students on free and reduced lunch.
When we talked to the leadership at Northwood, they said we could bless them most fully by supporting the Northwood Dance Company. The Northwood Dance Company is a educational program that is run within the school to offer a creative and artistic outlet that engages kids' minds and bodies. The instruction is offered through the school, but kids who participate usually need to provide shoes and other "tools of the trade" if they want to participate.
This Christmas Eve, our offering will go to directly to the NDC, providing shoes and basic dance supplies for kids who cannot afford them. Your Christmas Eve gifts will be staying in our own back yard, but they will go beyond our walls to bless children who depend upon such gifts in order to learn about music, and rhythm, and healthy movement. Our hope and prayer is that these gifts will put a song in the heart of every child who receives them and show our community that we aren't just preparing ourselves to praise and welcome Christ, we are preparing the world!
We'll see you tomorrow, at 4PM (for our Child-Centered Celebration Service) or 6PM (for Candlelight Communion), to hear the greatest Song of the Season: "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth!"
I am so ready: to see signs of God's glory, and to be a sign of God's peace with the world. .