Pastor’s Corner – Dec. 31, 2017

For over twenty years, on Christmas eves, St. Paul’s received an anonymous poem from The Christmas Poet of St. Paul’s. The poem would arrive in the Christmas offering as a gift from the poet. Some years later, The Christmas Poet of St. Paul’s also began contributing a poem to the Easter offering. In 2014 this anonymous poet included a letter with the poem stating, “this is the final delivery,” but included a challenge for others to take up the tradition. In 2015, The Anonymous Christmas Poet of St. Paul’s II emerged. Here is our Christmas gift from the poet this year:
 
Unwrapping Christmas
 
A beautifully wrapped gift
Oh how it brings us joy.
What could it possibly be?
A blanket, a scarf, a toy?
A gift given us from our family or our friend.
A time of year we show our love
through the gifts we send.
I think it must be Gods’ favorite time of year too.
For God gives us the gift of life then sees what we do.
We continually think of others and our generosity flows,
The good that is in our hearts spills over and grows.
By giving we are happier, for we are designed this way,
It lifts our spirits to share our love by giving it away.

Our gift to God may just be time to give someone in need,
It may be to volunteer and to plant a seed.
It may be a simple hug or a supportive word,
An encouragement to let someone know that they are heard.
The most precious gifts are not always wrapped in boxes and in bags,
with frilly ribbon and colored bows and pretty Christmas tags.
So this year as Christmas comes and you are buying things in part,
Just know that some of the greatest gifts …come straight from the heart.

– The Christmas Poet of St. Paul’s II



Pastor’s Corner – Dec. 17, 2017

Advent Quiz!

Test your knowledge about the tradition of Advent!

(answers at bottom of page)

  1. What does the word Advent mean?
    1. Before Christmas
    2. Arrival or coming
    3. To go on an adventure
    4. A website for online Christmas coupons
    5. All of the above
  2. Like Lent, Advent is a fixed number of days before Christmas.
    1. True
    2. False
  3. According to tradition, how far did Mary travel to visit Elizabeth?
    1. 10 miles
    2. 50 miles
    3. 100 miles
    4. 500 miles
  4. What is a Jesse Tree?
    1. Another name for a Christmas tree
    2. The tree decorated with Chrismons
    3. A tree that blossoms at Christmastime
    4. A representation of Jesus’ family tree
  5. What is the meaning of the Hebrew word “Emmanuel”?
    1. Mighty king
    2. Christ Child
    3. God with us
    4. All of the above
    5. None of the above

 

How did you do? What is your favorite part of Advent? What would you like to learn more about during this season in the church? This season of prophecy and answered prayers is a season of preparation, but it is also a season of joy and hope and realization that God is with us forevermore.

For more information on Advent and the United Methodist traditions surrounding this season, visit http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/what-is-advent

 

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Sami
 

Answers: 1.) B  2.) False  3.) C  4.) D  5.) C



Pastor’s Corner – Dec. 10, 2017

I have this tiny little Christmas tree with 9 lights on it that I keep lit by my bedside. Each night I spend 5-10 minutes in quiet with all the lights off except this little tree. I sit and relax into the beauty and stillness of the night and I breathe. It is a small act to counteract the hustle and bustle of these days. But it stills my heart and calms my soul.

Instead of filling your mind with even more words in these season of overload, I just want to offer this simple prayer and an invitation to spend time in quiet each day.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
And be light for our darkness,
Be comfort in our grief,
A guide for our path.
Be a friend in our loneliness,
An oasis in our searching,
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Restore our joy,
heal our wounds,
and bring us peace.
Amen.

Walking toward the crèche,

Pastor Patti



Pastor’s Corner – December 3

The Holiday Dinner Table

Ah. The holiday dinner table. A place of wonderful memories, delicious food, and high anxiety. Along with the common stress during holidays and meal planning, our country’s political tension the last few years has caused disruption with the holiday dinner table. Even with the general election completed over a year ago, there are still repercussions of the outcome amongst families, friends, and co-workers. When we are able to control the news we read and see, being bombarded with opposing views is not our favorite dessert for the holidays.
 
Unfortunately, this tension can extend past meals and into cancelled wedding invites, vacations, and life-long grudges are cemented. What do we do about this? Whether we carry our own hurts about this topic or see others hurting around us, what do we do?
 
Conversations around delicate topics are difficult, vulnerable, and often passionate and painful. But, they are also very important. Those conversations are important because they are happening less and less, which just make the holiday dinner table more tense.
 
So, as vulnerable and tough that these conversations can be, the work is crucial for our relationships within and outside our families. Working through anxiety and tension will help us reconnect with those whom we love. Serving one another will also help. We see the needs of others instead of focusing on our personal needs. Most importantly, remembering our hope is found in God’s grace, not in winning arguments will help us heal and find peace in tense and high-stressful times.
 
As we enter into the season of company parties, family gatherings, and possibly tense holiday dinner tables, I invite us all to strive for health, peace, and respect toward those whom we love. May we lean in to situations outside of our comfort zone, create peace with those we interact with, and reconnect with friends and family.
 
 
Peace,
Pastor Sami