Glimpses of the Grace and Truth in Christmas...Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Yes, it is a bit early for some of that, but it’s good to practice celebrating all season long, even adding an exclamation point at the end of things. The exclamation point should remind us of a truth I learned from a retired lumber man in my first appointment, “Pastor, every day is Christmas!” He reminded me that every day of the year is a day to celebrate Christmas. Christmas means Christ is born, because every day is a good day to remember that. 

Happy Holidays? Maybe you’ve heard that Happy Holidays is a shorter way to say “Happy Holy Days.” These days are holy because we focus on places like Bethlehem, a stable and manger, on people like Mary and Joseph, and their newborn baby who would be named Jesus because he’ll save us from our sin. Holy because we see this Savior is celebrated by the lowest of society in night- shift shepherds but also proclaimed by angels in the highest of heavens. So we hope you’ll join us for special times of worship like: 

- 3rd Sunday of Advent, with our FUMC Family Christmas Potluck Breakfast at 8:30, Worship at 10:00; then our 37th annual Plum Pudding Festival at 5:00. 

- 4th Sunday of Advent Worship on Dec. 23rd.

- Christmas Eve Worship—we will offer two opportunities for our Communion and Candlelight Worship. Come at 5:00, where our kids live out the true Christmas story in worship, or join us for the later service at 9:00 pm. Beyond Dec. 25th, we still celebrate Christmas with our New Year’s Covenant Renewal on Epiphany Sunday Jan. 6th. Then on Jan. 13th, we will Consecrate our Leadership Team for 2019. They will take their first step in servant leadership by serving Holy Communion, and remember Sunday night Chapel Worship at 5:00.

We should also mention that because the season is so busy, we take some time to catch our breath. Our staff and laity work so hard, so note that, we will again close our offices on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day (and no newsletter the week of Christmas).
These many opportunities, and even the intentional breaks, are offered so we all can focus on higher things, on holy things, because every day is Christmas and this truly is a holy-day season. So for you, whether your holiday job is to set up, cook up, carve up, or clean up, whether it is to host the fam or hit the road, we as your church family and staff pray that you and your family have a most blessed Christmas holy-day season.
In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, please take the time to pause and be thankful for all we have. Even on our worst day, even if there were no package under the tree with our name on it, we have so much for which we should be thankful. Our families here at First UMC are among the blessings that each of us as your staff celebrate. It is an honor to serve the Newborn King beside you all. So “Come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!” 

Sincerely glad to serve Him alongside you: Ed, Will and the First UMC Family