December is always a busy and full time of year, from parties to parades, from shopping trips to children's programs, from decorating to cookie baking. This year is certainly no exception especially here at Port Church! We have a lot of things going on each week between now and Christmas. During Advent, we are having special guests joining us for our children's message in worship. This weekend we have the Nativity followed by the Christmas Musical Program the next weekend. Throw in a Longest Nights Service of Healing and Christmas Eve, and we finish with a week full of worship. Of course, we have Bible Study each week in Advent, and this Sunday we are having a special Sunday School competition of Jeopardy based on Advent and Christmas. Even at Christmas time, Port Church says, "Go big and go home!"
All of this and indeed all that we have done throughout the year would not be possible without the many folks who volunteer their time and energy. While I like to thank folks individually as often as I can, it is impossible to thank all of the many people who make our ministries possible. From the folks who come up with ideas of how to serve God in new ways and run with them to the faitful servants behind the scenes, from the folks who make phone calls and find volunteers to the people who make food to keep the volunteers going, from the ones who visit those in need in our congregation to those who cast a vision for what God is doing in midst, it takes many, many hands to complete the ministry to which we have been called. Thank you one and all for all the ways you serve God through our church! Thank you, God, for the many hands that the make the work light!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
In these weeks leading up to Christmas, we are "Unwrapping Christmas" to get past the beautiful wrappings to the true meaning of Christmas.
Sunday's Sermon Snippet: Sharing Light (Isaiah 9:2-7)
Isaiah promises that the people who are walking in darkeness and live in a land of deep darkness have seen a great light dawning. We face times of darkness in our lives: periods of doubt and wondering where God is, facing broken relationships, having poor health, enduring tragedy. We walk in our own darkness to be sure, but we also live in a shared darkness from things that affect us all like national tragedies or even personal circumstances around which we gather to share the burden. Isaiah tells us that the light is already there, and so people rejoice now. We know the light has come in Jesus Christ, and yet we still so often walk and live in darkness. Why is that? Have we not seen the light? Have we forgotten that we are called to rejoice? Perhaps it is because Jesus, although his light has dawned in this world, still has things to accomplish in our world. After all, is that not what we wait for in Advent - not just the coming of Christmas but the coming of the final Christmas when Christ returns to make all things right? As we walk through places of darkness in life, we need to share the light of Christ that is at the heart of a Christmas unwrapped!
The Story of St. Lucia
In the early days of Christianity, there were at times emperors of Rome who looked unfavorably upon the new religion, and the persecutions would grow to a fever pitch. Christians would sometimes take refuge in the catacombs - a series of tunnels and caverns carved outside the city for burial of their dead - or would use secret entrances to escape. During a particularly harsh persecution of Christian leaders, a young woman named Lucia (a name meaning light) would bring food to those hiding in the catacombs. In order to carry as much food as possible, she fashioned a wreath of candles to place on her head to free up her hands from carrying a torch for the dark passageways. St. Lucia Day - December 13th - is celebrated especially in areas in Northern Europe where the dark, winter nights are especially long as a reminder of God's light coming into the world.
Living in Community
Thanks to all the folks who helped set up for the Nativity and to the ladies who provided a wonderful lunch beforehand!
Thanks to Jason and Lauren for lighting our Advent candle this week!
Thanks to Jason, Lauren, and Chris for helping to serve communion and to Donnie and Linda for setting it up!
Thanks to Hannah for sharing the story of St. Lucia with us!
Thanks to Amie for helping the children make ornaments for Tristan from the families of the church!
Make sure to go by the fellowship hall this Sunday to be part of special holiday surprise for Tristan.
This Week at Port Church
Monday, December 5
Evening Bible Study at Dianna's
Tuesday, December 6
9:00 - 11:45 - Office Hours
Wednesday, December 7
Morning Bible Study at Dianna's
7:00 pm - Cantata Practice
Thursday, December 8
9:00 - 11:45 - Office Hours
Friday, December 9 & Saturday, December 10
7 - 9 pm - Drive-thru Nativity
If you have a role to play, please plan to arrive at least 45 minutes before your shift
in order to be in costume on time.
Sunday, December 11
9:30 am - Worship: "Unleashing Christmas: Bringing Justice"
Children are invited to bring a new, small toy to be donated to the Salvation Army.
11:00 am - Sunday School
Youth and adult classes invited to join in a friendly round of
Jeopardy: Advent & Christmas Edition!
Upcoming Christmas Events
Sunday, December 18
Christmas Musical Program at 7 pm
Tuesday, December 20
Do the holidays have you down this year? Are you struggling with pain, grief, or doubt?
Join us for our Longest Nights Service of Healing at 7 pm.
Saturday, December 24
Christmas Eve Service at 7 pm
Join us for carols, candlelight, and communion!
Our Christmas Eve Offering will benefit our Window & Building Fund and our World Service Fund that supports missionaries around the world. Please consider giving a special gift to Jesus this Christmas.
Sunday December 25
Worship at 10:30 - Come as you are; pajamas welcome!
No Sunday School.
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!