|This Sunday at Holland's UMC|
HOLLAND'S UMC IS A CARING COMMUNITY
THAT INVITES AND EQUIPS PEOPLE TO FOLLOW JESUS.
Dear Holland's Family,
Grace and peace in the name of the Prince of Peace!
What a wonderful Advent Season we are experiencing at Holland's. I know there are many gatherings scheduled by groups/classes to share in celebration as we move ever closer to the grand celebration of our Lord's advent through the incarnation of God made flesh. Blessings to all who are gathering in these days!
This coming Sunday we continue our sermon series, Angels We Have Heard on High. So far, we have looked at Gabriel and the Doubting Priest (Luke 1:5-20), and, Gabriel and the Believing Maiden (Luke 1:26-38). This coming Sunday our focus will be on The Angel and the Dreaming Carpenter (Matthew 1:18-25). On December 15, there will be an interlude in the series as our choral servants bring to us this year's Christmas Cantata, The Heart of Christmas. On that Sunday, we will worship only at 8:30 and 11:00. Then, on December 22, we will conclude the sermon series with Joy to the World (Luke 2:8-20) as we look closely at the story of the angels appearance to the lowly shepherds in Bethlehem's field on the first Christmas night.
Of course, everyone is invited to gather on Christmas Eve for our candlelight worship services: 5:00: A Children's Christmas Eve with reenactment by the younger part of Holland's family of the blessed event. This service will also include a special story from Pastor Gary for the children. Our 7:00 gathering will be A Service of Lessons and Carols with music led by our Praise and Worship team, By Grace: At 9:00 this service will be repeated, with music led by our Chancel Choir. Both the 7:00 & 9:00 services will include Holy Communion. Holy Communion will not be served at 5:00.
Now, a word about this coming Sunday's worship as Angels We Have Heard on High continues. There's an angel in the story! And a young woman. Plus a little guy destined to save the world. The hero resists temptation and is true to the end. He offers himself as sacrifice to a good cause, defies death and remains faithful until he is permitted to leave for the heavenly realm. Sounds like the story of Jesus doesn't it? Except for the defying death part. Jesus died and was resurrected to new life! In any case, the description above is not of Jesus, but of Frodo from J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings."
Tolkien was a Christian writer and I understand his trilogy to be a wonderful story. Such stories remind us that as 21st century people we are all spiritual beings. Our generation, not unlike those who have gone before, is one that hungers for a bright, shining savior who will decisively defeat the powers of darkness. The good news of Christmas, and the news we should be sharing with family and friends, is that this kind of savior is not only found in fiction and fantasy. Indeed, this kind of Savior, is only found in the person of Jesus Christ whose birth we will soon celebrate.
This week we will focus on Joseph, the dreaming carpenter, and his encounter with the good news delivered by an angel. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel, which means "God with us" (Matthew 1:23). This is the promise - this is what we yearn for - this is what is provided - this will be our focus on Sunday. I hope to see you then. Pastor Brian will preach at 8:30, and I'll be in the pulpit at 9:45 and 11:00.
Please note: An E-Pistle will not be published next week. Lou Ann and I will be travelling to visit our new grandson and his parents, Tuesday - Friday. We'll be home in time for the cantata.
Hoping to see you on Sunday!