While we were home on Christmas vacation, we found out that our favorite place to get genuine Allentown cheesesteaks had opened a new restaurant. For several years they were only available at the local fairs. Vince’s was Pam and my favorite place to get cheesesteaks. An Allentown cheesesteak is different from a Philly cheesesteak. It does not use cheese whiz and it is topped with a red sauce and dill pickles. Pam and I and the kids savored every delicious bite. It was soooo good!
Christmas afternoon Dale, Rebecca and I went to my mother’s grave site to put some flowers on her grave. It was some plastic poinsettias and some plastic holly, which was veru fitting because when I was little I would go to the local five and dime to buy her a $1.00 corsage every year. My mother would have acted like it was the most expensive corsage she ever receive in her life. I also took some homemade cookies to lay on her grave site. Once again you had to know my mother to understand where I got that idea.
When I was standing in the grave yard after I pushed the snow to the side that was on the marker and put the flowers in the ground, I looked around to the other grave sites which had nothing on them or around them. How sad I thought — this sight I saw. Those who were buried here once had someone who loved them but were now forgotten.
This Christmas has been really hard on me as I have missed her so much. What I have really missed the most is to have someone who would listen to me. She would have been a great help during this past year as I have been through a lot of hard events in my life. I love you mom!
Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.
A Beautiful Sunny Day
This morning was one of those cold starts. We also had to be careful because there were patches of black ice, from the melting yesterday. Most of our 28 inches of snow has mounted a hasty retreat. This is not to say that the ground is not snow covered. I would guess that there is still an average of about 6 inches on the ground in most places that are not plowed. Today made it up to the mid-40’s, so even more of the snow is retreating, but it looks like bad weather is in the forecast for later in the week. At least it looks like it will avoid Sunday.
A New Toy
Yesterday we arrived at church to find some new sound equipment had arrived. We had ordered to Shure wireless systems with Countryman E6 mics. The headset mics are almost invisible. We tried them out during practice last night and they sound really good. I was listening to the recording of the service and it would be hard to tell that it wasn’t a handheld mic. I am very pleased.
The snow has put a halt to any amount of running. There is no safe place to run here in Waynesboro (because of the snow) and the last time I looked at Gypsy Hill, it was still snow covered. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get out and take a look and see if it’s any better. I’m hoping to get out and run, because it has been almost two weeks since my last run. It will be like starting all over again.
An Awesome Worship Service
Because our lead pastor is out of town, I had the opportunity to preach this morning. It was good to be back in the saddle again. I forgot how tough it was to lead worship and preach all in the same day. The musical worship was really good as we reflected on the Christmas story through the familiar carols of the season. I’ll put up the text to the sermon, when I get back over to church. I was having some trouble getting it to copy on to my USB drive.
It was great to go see family this past week and now we have returned and get ready for the New Year. It seems both Pam and I have recovered from our mild case of writer’s block and over the next few days, you will be seeing several posts. Some of those are reflections from going home and some thoughts that have been marinating for quite some time. In all of this, we remember to Seize the Day!
December 27, 2009
First Sunday After Christmas
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship
Lighting of the Christ Candle
*Songs of Praise and Worship
O Come All Ye Faithful (Oakley)
The Birthday of a King (Neidlinger)
O Come Let Us Adore Him (Traditiona)
*Connecting in Prayer
Songs of Praise and Worship
Go, Tell It on the Mountain (Traditional/Spiritual)
O Little Town of Bethlehem(Brooks/Redner)
Giving Back to God
Special Music – While You Were Sleeping (Hall)
Worship through God’s Word
While You Were Sleeping
Song of Commitment
Christmas Offering (Baloche)
December 27, 2009
18 But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest. 19 Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. 20 Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.”
26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.
It’s been interesting so far to look at Old Testament scriptures in light of the first two seasons of the church year. As I was reading the last first of our passage, it struck me that I had heard the phrase similar to that before. The last verse of the gospel reading in Luke reads like this: 52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. Now I knew why it sounded familiar. Many years ago, The Wesleyan Church had something called CYC or Christian Youth Crusaders. It was a great program based loosely on scouting. There were other programs such as Pioneer Girls and so on out there, but this was our own curriculum. As part of the exercises, there was a pledge and it ended with “and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”
Samuel was the son of Elkanah. He was promised to his mother after she pleaded with God to have a son. In return, Samuel’s mother pledged him in service to her Lord. Obviously this was a smart boy and he followed the Lord and it pleased God and the people. Over this next week, I encourage you to seek the Lord. While most of us over the age of 20 are done growing physically, we can continue to grow spiritually. We can continue to grow in favor with our God and with others. My favorite verse is “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Jesus added and you should love your neighbor as yourself. As we begin this new year, that is a great challenge!
Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
My true love gave to me…
Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.
We are now in the twelve day season of Christmas. It begins on Christmas Day and continues to January 5th. Dr. Dennis Bratcher, a Church of the Nazarene professor has a great article on the Twelve Days of Christmas. He also has a great resource of devotionals for the next twelve days, so I’ll be sharing the links to those for each day.
In addition to the links, I thought I would share some of the symbolism of the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I hope you enjoy.
On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . .” (Luke 13:34)