As we draw near to Christmas Day, the excitement surely grows. So often, the days that follow feel like a let-down in comparison. The fun and joy is over and we return to life as usual - that is, life as usual in the dark winter. Yet Christmas is not just the end of this season of waiting but the beginning of a new journey, for the birth of Jesus was not the end but the beginning of the great story. As Howard Thurman wrote,
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
Merry Christmas to you and your family, and may our work in the name of Christ just be beginning!
A Christmas Quiz
How much do you know about the Christmas story and our traditions? Take this quiz and find out!
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Christmas in Five Words: "Let's" (Luke 2:8-15)
This week's word for Christmas is a two-for-one special: the contraction "let's." This word comes to us in the story of the shepherds who watching their flocks outside of Bethlehem. They were just ordinary shepherds living their ordinary lives. Watching their flocks, they listened in the darkness for any sound of trouble - a thief or predator coming to steal one of their sheep. What disturbed the quiet was utterly unexpected - a host of angels surrounded by the glory of heaven and singing praise to God! Afraid, the shepherds heard the angel's message about the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem. After the angels had left, the shepherds did the one obvious thing to do - to go check it out. "Let's go," they said to one another and hurried into town. Given that the Scripture tells us that they hurried to town, it is surprising to see that so much of our artwork depicting their journey looks more like a slow funeral procession than an excited rush to see what God is up to. Look for a picture of the shepherds and most likely it depicts them not hurrying but pausing or walking solemnly. That's not their response though - it's "Let's go!" That word "let's" is important. It is not a simple "let" asking permission (as in "let me in" while standing at a locked door). It is "let's" - an invitation to come along and see what's going on. It is also important to note the "us" hidden in this word. When we respond to God, it is about going together, not just on our own. Jesus' birth requires a response - not just today as we celebrate but everyday and not one of measured reverence but one full of joy! How often do we respond to what God is doing with a slow procession rather than a hurried, excited run to join in? When God is up to something, let's go! When Jesus tells us to love God and our neighbors, let's go! When Jesus calls us to follow, let's go! When Jesus shows the hungry child, the poor widow, and the lost stranger, let's go! When we wake up to a new day that God has made, let's go! Let's go and see what God is doing!
A Blessing of Food
Last week, a crew from Dominion Virginia Power donated an amazing amount of food and other items to our church for the ERMA Food Pantry. Thanks to all of our friends at Dominion for blessing so many in our community! Thanks to Debbie and Larry for coordinating the delivery and to Davida, Jim, Barbie, and Randy for taking all this food to the pantry!
What a blessing!
Living in Community
Thank you, Dorcy and Pat, for reading and lighting our Advent candles this week!
Thank you to everyone who gave towards supplying snacks
for the young children at South River Elementary!
We doubled the requested amount and raised $206.94!
Thank you to everyone who donated at our Christmas Program for the Spotswood Choir!
We raised $211.16 in support of the choir!
This Week at Port Church
Monday, December 18
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Tuesday, December 19
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Wednesday, December 20
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Thursday, December 21
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Sunday, December 24
9:30 am - Worship with Singing of Carols: "Christmas in Five Words"
11:00 am - Birthday Party for Jesus
11:00 pm - Christmas Candlelight Service with Communion
Office Closed Next Week
Working with At-risk Children Workshop - January 17th, 6 pm
Paint Night - January 19th, 6 pm
Wednesday at the Port resumes January 24th
Game Night - January 28th, 7 pm
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