Pastor Linda Settles
We are well into a season that we’ve never seen before and one that we will not see again – the season of Advent 2021. We celebrated the first Sunday of Advent 3 Sundays ago, and the theme was “Unfolding Hope.” The theme for the 2nd Sunday of Advent was “Unfolding Love.” Then we had “Unfolding Joy.” And when you think about it, isn’t that what the world needs today – hope, love, and joy? But in a time of a pandemic, job layoffs, and economic downturns, the money gets funny, the change gets strange, and sometimes it’s hard to find any kind of light at the end of the tunnel. People seem to have lost hope and a sense of purpose, walking around in darkness.
All you have to do is turn on the news today and you’ll see story after story of people all around the world walking in darkness. Stories like the student who brought a gun to school and killed fellow students; the story of a country wearied from tornadoes, flooding, covid-19, and political division. Is there any light in the midst of all of this darkness?
It was a dark night for a group of shepherds over 2000 years ago. No doubt they had been tending to their sheep, taking them to areas where they could graze, making sure not one of them was lost (don’t worry, I’ll save the preaching for Sunday!). But think about it, shepherding had to be an exhausting job because even at night the shepherds had to watch over their sheep. But there was something different about this dark night…
“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.”
“The glory of the Lord shone around them” – that means that light broke into the darkness! If you’ve ever been in a dark room and suddenly someone turns on a light, it startles you, right? You just don’t expect there to be light where there is darkness. The two don’t co-exist, for once the light comes, the darkness is gone! Isaiah saw it coming…
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.”
That’s what happened to the shepherds that dark, starry night. But it also happens the minute we choose to follow Jesus! The Light of Christ overcomes the darkness of our souls. Ok, I can’t hold it in much longer! Come on, Sunday!
I hope you can be with us this Sunday, Christmas Sunday! We will finish our Advent Sermon Series, The Unfolding, with Unfolding Light. And we will celebrate the Light of the World, Jesus, coming to earth and coming into our hearts!
Also, the children will bless us in song, along with a few musical guests. And Rev. Christy will bring a children’s sermon just for the kiddos (although we adults love them, too!). If you cannot worship with us in-house, you can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
Don’t forget, our Advent Adventure Angels are still positioned around the church for your scavenger hunting pleasure! Catch them while you can.
Christmas Eve Worship will be one service this year at 5:00pm. The children will sing, we will take Communion together, and light our candles as we celebrate that holy night. Our offering that evening will be for the Dondo Home, our adopted orphanage in Mozambique.
If you have not returned your pledge card, we will continue to receive them through December 31. Your pledges help us to plan for ministry in 2022. Your information is kept secure and confidential. Also, any contributions to be credited in 2021 must be received in the church office by December 31, 2021. And may God bless you for your generosity!
Save the Date! The Spiritual Gifts Masterclass will roll out on Tuesday, January 4! This class will stir up the gifts in you, and help you to see how God has uniquely gifted you. You can watch the video made by Claudia Valentine-Fjone in advance on our website https://www.umcgt.org/spirtiual-gifts-master-class. Or you can join us on January 4, either in-house or virtually, and watch it together. Please see the website for more information.
Our prayers go out to Rev. Londia Grainger-Wright, whose 94-year-old father passed. Please keep the family in your prayers. And we continue to hold Linda Liermann and family in prayer in the passing of her aunt, Marilee Blessman, a long-time member of Green Trails Church.
May we hold one another in prayer that the hope, love, joy, and light of Christ fills all of our hearts!