A Special Christmas Gift
One of the special parts of Christmas is, of course, the gifts that we enjoy giving to others. As in years past here at Port Church, we have an opportunity to make a special gift this Christmas with our Offering for Others. On Christmas Eve, we will collect an offering to support the work of our missionaries across the world and the work of Mission Central here on our district. Through the United Methodist Church, we have missionaries working across our nation and indeed world to carry forth the gospel of Jesus Christ. From building new churches to teaching and providing medical care, our missionaries are making the world a better place for all in the name of Jesus. Here on the Harrisonburg District, we have people who are also working to make our community a better place. They have built a building at Cedar Grove UMC on the outskirts of Harrisonburg to serve as Mission Central. Mission Central is home to a large clothing closet open to all in our community as well as a medical equipment loaning closet. Families can find the clothing they need while those who have been afflicted by a medical setback can borrow walkers, wheelchairs, and other durable equipment to help them recover. This Christmas, please consider making a gift to Jesus by supporting his work of mercy and grace in the world near and far!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
The Best Christmas - Bravest Heart (Matthew 2:18-25)
When it comes to rules, there are at least three kinds of people: those who think rules are meant to be broken, those who think rules are meant to be followed - by other folks, and those who are rule-followers themselves. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Joseph was one of this last category. He was a faithful man and followed the law of God. When his betrothed Mary was found to be pregnant, this presented him with a dilemma. The law and the expectation of those around him was that he should break the engagement and shame her for her assumed infidelity. Yet Joseph's righteousness was only as deep as his mercy, and he did not want to make her suffer more than she already would. He decided to divorce her quietly and let her live her life as best she could as he moved on.
Joseph was not a very remarkable man - a common worker from a no-name town in Galilee - yet he had a remarkable faith and a brave heart. As he slept, God's message came to him in a dream telling him to put aside the expectations - that is, the rules that he followed, to take Mary as his wife, and to raise Jesus her son as his own. In fact, he was to give Jesus that name as a way of claiming the boy as his son. Joseph obeyed this direction from God despite what the rules may have said. This is a remarkable thing for him to have done. What would the others say? How could he trust that this dream was real and was truly from God? It took great courage for Joseph to set aside the rules he had followed all his life and mark out a new course for his life.
And is this not what that son he adopted as his own would do? Jesus would heal on the Sabbath, and people would say it was wrong to do so. Yet Jesus knew that life - abundant life - was more important than the rule and had mercy on those who needed help. While the rules said that touching someone unclean made you unclean, Jesus would touch the ill and sinful, and it was they who were made clean and healed instead. Jesus would eat with sinners, and the righteous people complained that this was unseemly. He continued on and even became the bread and cup of a meal given for all sinners. Rules are helpful and often good, but sometimes the rules and expectations need to be broken with a courageous heart. Breaking rules is not meant to enrich ourselves or excuse our bad behavior. Breaking rules is sometimes necessary, however, to extend God's mercy into the world. What rules do we need to set aside to enter into a brave new world of God's love and mercy this Christmas?
Living in Community
Thank you, Alisa, for the beautiful Nativity wreath you made for the fellowship hall!
Thanks to our Youth Council - Tristan, Jacob, and Makayla -
for lighting the second candle of our Advent wreath this week!
Thank you to everyone who helped to set up for the Live Drive-thru Nativity
this past Sunday, especially with the snow coming down!
We are disappointed that we have had to cancel our Nativity due to weather,
but we look forward to hosting it next year.
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, December 12
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Thursday, December 13
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
6:30 - Cantata Practice
Sunday, December 16
9:30 am - Worship: The Best Christmas - The Greatest Joy
11:00 am - Sunday School
Adult and Youth Classes invited to join together in Bible Jeopardy!
Christmas Cantata - December 23, 7 pm
Christmas Eve Services - December 24, 5 & 11 pm
Wednesday at the Port resumes January 16
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!
8525 Water Street
Port Republic, VA 24471