Greetings in Christ’s name!
Matthew’s gospel tells us that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea proclaiming, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” People from all over the area went out to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. Even the religious leaders came out to be baptized by John, but he was not as welcoming to them. He implied that being dipped in water wasn’t what they needed. Instead, they needed to “produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives.” What always gets me about this scene is that just then, Jesus showed up and got in line. John rightly noted that baptizing Jesus seemed inappropriate—that Jesus should baptize John, not the other way around. But Jesus insisted. And in doing so, he signaled his solidarity with those who needed to change. He signaled that none of us should think we are without sin—without something in our lives that needs to be redeemed and restored.
You know the cliché: change begins with me. And during this Advent Season—a season in which the Church is reminded to get ready for Christ’s coming—any change that prepares the way for the Lord must begin in each of our own lives. We won’t change the world, or even one other person, but with God’s help, our own hearts and lives can be changed so that we’re ready for Christ’s arrival. So, I’ve been asking myself, “what needs to change in me so that I’m ready for the appearance of the Lord? What needs to change in me so that Christ appears in me to others?” I’m getting in line, so I will be ready.
If you haven’t received an EFM Christmas Catalogue and would like to give creatively to one of their projects, just call the church office and we’ll send you one. Or, you can pick one up from the information walls in the foyer on Sunday.
The All Church Christmas Caroling and Hayride will be on Tuesday, December 6th from 5:30-7:30 pm. Pizza and lemonade will be served in the Coffee Café at 5:30, then we will load the hay wagons at 5:55 pm for a 6 pm departure. After making several stops for caroling, we will end the evening at the Brown House Museum for the annual tree lighting. We’ll enjoy wassail, gingerbread, and a visit from Santa. Everyone is welcome – invite a friend! Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to email@example.com.
All women are invited to attend the annual Christmas Party and Cookie Exchange on Thursday, December 15th. More details will be coming soon, but meanwhile save the date!
The Season of Advent begins this Sunday. In worship each Sunday, we’ll light Advent Candles and hear the stories of how Christ has come to people’s lives. I hope you can join us.
May the God of all love make you grateful this week and empower you to give thanks for everything that is good!