A WORSHIP SERVICE
ANGELS AND SHEPHERDS
December 12, 2021
In what ways is joy expressed and experienced in the Christmas story?
Can the angels and shepherds in the story give us clues?
How do we find this joy to carry with us on our journeys of life?
During the worship service, anticipate…
· …joyful music and diverse images of Christmas.
· …the addition of more décor to the simple Christmas atmosphere in the church sanctuary.
From the Pastor’s desk—
I enjoy books written by Mitch Albom. His latest is entitled The Stranger in the Lifeboat and is a favorite of those that I’ve read. For a quick and easy read, the book opens the door for discussion of a myriad of topics including but not limited to the tensions of wealth and poverty, power, strong familial relationships, faith, perseverance, life, death, and the gamut of emotions associated with this list of subjects.
Toward the end of the book, Albom presents a conversation between two of the characters in which one states that when someone dies, the common question is, “Why did God take them?” The character then adds, “The better question is, ‘Why did God give them to us?’”
Reflecting upon these two questions, I arrived at a conclusion that, upon the death of a loved one, we may either fall into the abyss of bitterness or rise to the heights of expanded life. To fall or rise depends upon which question gives us direction through the chaos of death.
Dwelling upon the question of why God would take someone away from us has the potential of leading toward bitterness. The question cannot be answered satisfactorily, yet an unending search continues. An unproductive quest devolves into ill feelings toward God, ultimately, who is expected to provide the definitive answer. Even if such an answer existed, would it provide the climactic attainment of the proverbial Holy Grail?
Conversely, exploring the contributions of the deceased’s life upon our own and the whole of humanity opens the door to shining examples of life we can realistically itemize and speak about. As a result, we are able to envision how that life adds meaning and purpose to our lives. Instead of bitterness we experience inspiration and joy.
There are lessons here applicable to other losses we sustain. The experience of loss is certainly palpable among us in this time of pandemic. We can dwell on why God would cause such despair which permits a dive into the abyss of bitterness, or we can focus on what we are learning along the way to make us a stronger, more resilient humanity, thus expanding the opportunity for enhanced life.
The holiday season is a moment in time to consider the direction of our lives as we navigate common and diverse stages of chaos. In our faith tradition, Christmas reminds us of hope, joy, peace, and love. These blessings seem absent in difficult moments, such as a pandemic. However, when we choose to remember these blessings, we, then, continue to be inspired toward meaningful and purposeful life. May it be so for us all, and those we love, and those we will yet become acquainted with, this holiday season.
Sunday, December 5 recap
Worship on this Sunday included creative narratives from animals associated with story. Interestingly, the Biblical accounts of the Christmas story do not explicitly mention any animals. Nonetheless, it is not a stretch to imagine the presence of animals chronicled therein. Hearing from a donkey, a sheep, and a cow provided opportunity to consider our personal thoughts on what we anticipate receiving from the Christmas story. In what ways do we encounter, or anticipate encountering, the miracle of Jesus in our lives today, not just once, but time and time again?
Links to videos shared during the service are included here:
And the Glory of the Lord (start at 4:35, end at 7:29) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfaHBolqIQk
Little Donkey – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLDuOV2W–E
Do You Hear What I Hear – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrB3Yj_GtOQ
Let There Be Peace on Earth clip (start at 1:38, end at 3:04) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kdm3JNSe1JI
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12 WORSHIP (In-person and Zoom)
Information about the Dec. 12 worship service is included at the beginning of this memo. Included here is the Zoom link for all who are unable to attend in person and have the opportunity to connect electronically. This information is included above as well.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 826 2643 1255