There’s a message pastor types often share during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. And even at the risk of being repetitive or prompting an eye roll (“Oh, here he goes again…”), this pastor type is no different!
The message is quite simply this: Christmas is not just a day, but an entire liturgical season. The song “12 Days of Christmas” reminds us of this fact as do cultures outside of the United States who celebrate that 12th day–January 6, Epiphany–as the culmination of the season.
It’s a lesson that gets repeated often but for good reason, I think, since so much else in our culture relates Christmas to a day or two at best. As evidence, I cite my recent trip to Walgreens this morning where Valentine’s candy and gifts were already all laid out, and Christmas items were relegated to a half-priced endcap.
The church offers a different witness though and one we will explore a bit more in worship this coming Sunday, January 1, when we observe Epiphany (a few days early) in worship. In hearing and responding to the story of the magi’s visit to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus; in sharing communion; in continuing in worship, service, and study, we will share the good news that God’s love is bigger than any one day can hold; God’s love is ongoing and never-ending, and so, too must our work of receiving and sharing that love.
May that be the work that finds you this week as you mark a transition to the new year, as you continue praying for God’s guidance, and as you give thanks for joy and look for opportunities to help others know the same.
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
*Worship on January 1 is at 11am in person and online. Celebrate epiphany with us and learn what work of God’s love is still pure to do as a new year begins!
Online participation via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/firstpresbyterianchurchofgarner
We will also hold a Congregational meeting after worship for the purpose of sharing the 2023 budget as information and voting on changes to the pastor’s terms of call.
* Our 5th Saturday commitment for H.O.P.E is Saturday, December 31, 2022. Let us end 2022 by providing a “day of dignity” for the guests at H.O.P.E., a bountiful, nutritious meal to quell their hunger and the embrace of our compassion to give them the strength to face the day and the beginning of a new year with a renewed spirit and hope for possibilities/opportunities yet to come.
*Church De-Decorating and Prayer Service is Saturday, January 7, in the sanctuary. The work to take down our Christmas decorations begin at 9am; at approximately 10:30am we’ll have a brief prayer service in the sanctuary and outside to mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next. This service will be an adaptation of a “Burning Bowl” Service inviting you to offer memories, concerns, thanksgivings, and hopes to God. You are welcome to attend either or both events in person.
* Walking Group: Join the Walking Group each Tuesday at 6pm. We currently meet at Cadence Senior Living Center (200 Minglewood Dr.). If you have any questions, contact the church office 919-772-0727. In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week.
* Boy Scout Troop 392 is having a Krispy Kreme fundraiser. Please contact the church office (919) 772-0727 for information on how to get your certificate for a dozen glazed donuts. The cost is $15 for each certificate which can be used at any Krispy Kreme location across the United States. (Not valid for in grocery store purchases.)
* The 2023 Flower Chart is up! The flower chart is posted in the hallway and ready for sign-ups. The cost of the flowers for the coming year is $40.00.
*Prayers for Peace: Our world continues to need prayers of word and deed for peace. As we prepare for a new year, may we pay for those affected by the extreme cold weather across the US, as well as those continuing to rebuild from storms earlier in 2022. Please continue to keep law enforcement and first responders in your prayers as well as those struggling with gun violence in too many places in our nation (including Raleigh, NC). Pray, too, for those for whom the holiday season can be heavy as they deal with loss in what is known as a “joyful” season.