Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"What are you thankful for?" This was a question that my mother posed to our family as we gathered for Thanksgiving dinner many a year, and of course each of us at the table would go around sharing something we were thankful for that day. I don't know that I would call this ritual a family tradition, though, because to my memory it was one of those things we did some years and not others. I am not sure whether there was any rhyme or reason as to why my mother chose to do it or not. Looking back, I wonder if she chose to have us focus on our thankfulness in those years when things were a little more difficult for our family - or maybe it was just in those years when my sisters and I had been especially antagonistic of one another while my mother sweated over the kitchen stove.
Perhaps this is one of those years when we all ought to focus on our thankfulness. To look around the world, it has been a difficult year. There is, of course, the recent terrorism in France and Lebanon, the latent fear that it could happen here, and the heart-breaking plight of Syrian refugees. Not helping any of that, there is the continued political gridlock that stymies any sense of progress on the very real problems we face. Closer to home, we have been hit by news of disease and death among our family and friends and the stories of those in our community who continue to struggle day by day. It would be easy to grow jaded and think we have little to be thankful for this year, except perhaps in the relief that so much of the bad news of the world has bypassed us personally. But maybe there is something to being especially thankful in the midst of the more difficult times. Maybe this is a year to be especially thankful, for we have been reminded of just how fragile and precious and beautiful life truly is.
Rejoice and pray and give thanks this week!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
God's Christmas List
What does God want for Christmas? This Advent as get ready for the celebration and gifts of Christmas Day, we are going to take a look in our worship services at what might be on God's Christmas list. Each week, we will also take a few minutes to wrap up our gifts to God in honor of Jesus' birthday!
Join us this Sunday as we discover the first item on God's Christmas List: Hope!
Why are there so many translations of the Bible, and which one should I use? How do I find things in the Bible? How do I read the Bible to help me grow in faith? These are just a few of the questions we will explore in Bible Basics, a class Pastor Jim will lead during Sunday School from November 29 to December 20. Join the Adult Class in the sanctuary to be ready to start the new year with renewed commitment to reading the Bible.
Time for Poinsettias
Help us decorate the sanctuary with poinsettias! You can order poinsettias in red, white or pink. The cost is $8.75 for a 6" pot and $17.50 for an 8". If paying by check, make it out to the church and put "Poinsettias" in the memo line. Poinsettias can be given in memory or honor of anyone you choose. Please give your order, payment, memorial/honor details to Pam Hargrave. All orders must be in by December 6.
Spotswood Choir Christmas Program
Mark your calendars! On December 13 at 6:30 pm, the Spotswood High Choir will be coming to share in some Christmas music with us. Come out to hear and sing along with some festive music, and stay for a cookie reception afterwards.
There is no cost, but we will be taking a freewill offering to support the Spotswood Choir.
Living in Community
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, November 25 & Thursday, November 26
Church Office Is Closed
Sunday, November 29
9:30 am - Worship: "God's Christmas List: Hope"
11 am - Sunday School
Join our Adult Sunday School Class as Pastor Jim teaches on ""Bible Basics!"
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!