PASTOR JEREMIAH’S DECEMBER MESSAGE
I am ready for Advent this year and I was ready for it last year too. Let’s be frank, 2020 and 2021 have been emotionally hard years. First of all, the pandemic has killed 750,000 of our fellow Americans and millions more in other nations. That weighs on my heart. However, honestly the tensions in our society based on political ideology I find even more stressful and painful. It seems in many ways that everything has become a liberal or conservative issue. If one talks about the environment, combating racism, vaccines, how to make our schools safer, these and other issues that we need to talk about as they affect people’s lives, have become landmines that seem to frequently blow up into arguments where no one listens to each other or seeks common ground. (I need to listen better, as well.)
Then beyond the wider world, there has been the unexpected financial stress our church has faced due to repairs to our roof. I thank God for the amazing generosity of the congregation which has already made that stress much less than it could of been. Yet, still a financial strain and talking out loans is stressful.
Personally, I’ve been walking through the divorce process for months, and though our family is healthier and in many ways happier, it’s been an emotionally brutal period. The financial stress and arrangements have not been easy in anyway, and my children and I have needed to adjust to a new life that is very different from what came before.
So in light of all these stresses and the others all around us, I need Advent this year. I need this season when we remember the themes we see in the Birth of Jesus; hope, peace, joy, and love. I need the reminder that things looked bleaker, were much bleaker for Jesus’ family than they are for me now. Yet amid stress, strain, economic crisis, political upheaval, and more, 2000 years ago God entered into this world as a vulnerable and helpless baby just as all of us entered into this world.
I need the reminder of Emmanuel, God is with us.
I need the reminder of God reaching out to the shepherds to share the good news, even when others wouldn’t have given them a second thought. I need the reminder of an amazingly brave teenager named Mary, who risked her life and her reputation to help when God asked her. I need the reminder of Joseph, who listened to God when others would have had him listen to his pride and kick Mary and her baby boy to the curb. I need the reminder that God loves us, and I need the reminder of what the angels said to the shepherds- “Fear Not!”
So, as we enter this Season of Advent and then the 12 days of Christmas, I invite all of you to really ponder the old familiar Christmas story. I encourage you to read the scriptures and let them tell you the story. The Christmas story is about brave people, saying yes to God, and through them God changing all existence forever. The Christmas story is about God loving everyone more than any of us can imagine. The Christmas story is life giving; so may it give us life, hope, peace, joy, and above all it reminds us of God’s love and inspires us to love others in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Blessings, Peace, and Merry Christmas
A very important
“SPECIAL CHARGE CONFERENCE”
HAS BEEN SCHEDULED FOR
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5TH
AFTER WORSHIP SERVICE AT 9:00 A.M.
One item will be on the agenda –
A vote needs to be taken by the “members” of Malta UMC to authorize the Annual Charge Conference Trustees to act on behalf of our Congregation dealing with the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy of the Boy Scouts of American.
This vote is very important as it could have
financial impact for our congregation.
All members of the church who can be there “in person” will be eligible to vote. All others may be present, and ask questions, but you cannot vote.
Pastor Jeremiah, as an elder in good standing in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference will be presiding over this Special Charge Conference.