Only six more days until Christmas, the day we celebrate the most world-changing event in history. The birth of Jesus was such a singular occasion that the western world changed its calendar, its way of marking time. In effect, we reset our clocks to zero and counted all the time that transpired after his birth as A.D., Latin for “in the year of our Lord.”
Jesus was not just another prophet in the long line of distinguished prophets like Elijah or Isaiah. He was the Messiah, God’s new king who would bring justice, peace, righteousness, and love – the One who would defeat the power of sin and death in the world. He would not rule with conventional means. He would not stand an army or launch a navy or sit on a throne in a palace. He would move among the people and teach about the grace and mercy of God and the power of forgiveness and call people to let go of their old ways and embrace God’s new way of life, a life of loving, sacrificial service to God and neighbor.
Who would have guessed that a carpenter’s son from a small town far from the halls of religious and political power would gather such a following and catch the world’s attention? Perhaps this happened because his message and his power were rooted in humility and love. The great warrior/emperor Napoleon said that only two real powers exist in the world: the sword and the spirit. And the leader with the world’s most swords said that the spirit is the stronger of the two. At his baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove as Jesus heard these words from God the Father, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well please; listen to him.” And so the world has listened to him for two thousand years, spreading the good news of God’s Reign.
This new world that Jesus brought is based on the love of God, neighbor, and enemy. It forgives our sins and restores us to a loving, fruitful relationship with our Creator and enables us to find a joy and peace that pass all understanding. In this new realm that Jesus brought we discover that giving is better than receiving and that forgiveness is superior to vengeance.
So, as you prepare to gather with your family and friends around the tree next week, I pray that you will remember that the reason we get so generous and shower our loved ones with gifts on Christmas day is because God showered the world with the gift of Jesus who has shown us a better way to live, God’s way. I am so grateful for all the gifts you have given our church and my family through the years. I continue to marvel at your generosity and countless acts of friendship.
I hope you will join us for one or both of our special services (5:00 and 7:00) on Christmas Eve. They will not be complete without you. Let us join Tiny Tim this Christmas and say “And may God bless us everyone. Merry Christmas!
A lease was signed by Presbyterian Homes, Inc., the Downtown Housing Improvement Corporation (DHIC), and the Presbytery of New Hope for a 75-year lease on the Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church property at a total amount of $1,000 for an affordable housing development for seniors. As Executive Presbyter Ted Churn notes, “This is the first step in bringing to fruition the vision for mission that began with a small but dedicated congregation in partnership with the presbytery.”
We congratulate our friends who came to us from Milner Memorial for their vision and generosity of spirit, and we’ll be excited to see the affordable housing project come to fruition.
Staff Christmas Gift – The Stewardship Team invites the congregation to remember the staff at this time of year with a kind word, Christmas card, or financial gift. If you choose to give a financial gift, please write ‘Staff Gift’ in the memo line. The funds the church receives are distributed amongst the staff, based on hours worked.
John Montague, our bookkeeper, gently reminds us that for donations to be credited to the 2019 tax year, they must be postmarked by 12/31/19.
At the time of printing, we have 58 pledges for a total of $218,132. If you have returned your estimate of giving card, thank you for making ministry and mission possible in 2020. If you haven’t returned yours yet, we’d be delighted if you would do so. To pledge, send a confidential email to Louise Taff, our Receiving Treasurer.
You are invited to sign up on the 2020 flower calendar on the tripod in the narthex. At the beginning of the month of your dedication, Virginia will confirm the placement of flowers and remind you the $35 suggested donation. All donations, after the cost of the flowers, are applied to Trinity’s designated music fund.
Would you like to help arrange flowers for one Sunday a month? Sheila Bailey, Robin Brown, Louise Taff, and Elaine Wolf would be delighted to add you into the mix. Email Virginia to learn more.