Dear Dyersburg FUMC Family, 

Last Sunday, December 13, our scripture lesson came from Luke 1. Known as the Magnificat, it is Mary’s song of praise upon finding out that she is expecting the Son of God. She sings that her soul magnifies the Lord and that her Spirit rejoices in God. I pointed out in my sermon that one of the sources of her joy was her absolute confidence that God would fulfill the promise to completely upend the cosmic order, to bring about a complete reversal of fortune for all people:

The empty would be filled and the rich sent away; the lowly would be lifted up and the powerful brought low; the proud would be scattered. The promises of God are cosmic. They affect every corner of the universe and every imaginable part of life. But they are also personal. 

Yesterday afternoon the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the faces of people in our community who need to hear these promises not only on the cosmic level, but also on the personal level. So many in our community feel empty because of loss and isolation and loneliness. Others have a sense of lowliness because they feel forgotten or left out. God’s promises are for all whose hearts and lives feel empty or lowly. God will fill us all and lift us all. And I pray that those promises feel as personal to us as they did to Mary when Gabriel told her about the great reversal about to take place in her personal life. 

In November we began holding Sunday evening worship in person in our sanctuary on the third Sunday of the month, which means that we will meet again this Sunday, December 20. This worship service will be akin to a “Blue Christmas” or “Longest Night” service, when we remember that Christmas does not always feel merry. Sometimes it brings up long-buried feelings of pain or grief. For those who are anticipating their first Christmas without someone they love, the feelings can be overwhelming. 

Please join us in person in the Sanctuary or on Facebook Live this Sunday, December 20 at 6:00 p.m. If you have a friend or family member who needs to know that they are loved and held by God in this Christmas season, please bring them or invite them to join us on Facebook. But also know that you don’t need to feel empty or lowly to be part of this special service. All are welcome, and all are celebrated. 

With love, Mary Beth