Tag Archives: Trees

Advent: Prepare

The season of Advent is a time of preparation for the birth of Christ. In non-liturgical traditions there isn’t much waiting anymore. The twelve days of Christmas end up being a gimmick to see more stuff and even some churches quit using Christmas carols after the twenty fifth of December.

And yet….most of us find ways to prepare for Christmas: maybe it is putting up a tree, baking a special cookie, planning on a trip to see family or friends. looks forward to a party, or attending special concerts or plays or worship services. Sometimes grief weighs upon us and we don’t prepare at all, instead we find ways to avoid those days and events that bring our grief closer to the surface. A few years ago, I wrote on preparing and remembering

Advent remains important to me. I still like to decorate, although it seems to take a little longer each year. The lights, the trees, the garlands, warm the house with a brightness that is often lacking in the darkness of winter. On one of my trees, I call it my “antique” tree, many of the ornaments are of sentimental value and bring back many memories. The garland is non tarnishing sterling silver. It came from my mother-in-laws things and I have never seen anything like it.

Several of the ornaments were hers, but some come from my family. There are burned out light bulbs from my grandparents tree.

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And an inexpensive plastic tree, and three plastic angels and a ceramic angel.

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The plastic ornaments were some my mother bought inexpensively, because there was little money for Christmas ornaments. Two of the three have had at least one wing glued back on because they have broken off. I considered throwing them away, but decided I would rather see them year after year hanging in all their tacky glory and remember.

None of those ornaments are “worth” anything except the memories they evoke. No one else may ever want them, they may end up somewhere in a dumpster someday, but for the time being, they belong on my tree, in my home with all the memories that they bring.

Advent encourages waiting and preparing. All around me the world rushes toward Christmas. Preparations are frantic and chaotic. I want to purposefully prepare and wait. I long to savor the moments. I do so as I decorate each tree. While not every ornament on every tree has a memory, many do. I remember people, events, congregations and moments. I can give thanks for each.

The antique tree looks like this:

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At night, it is absolutely lovely.

So, today, I am grateful for burned out bulbs, plastic angels and memories. No matter how crazy the season gets, I am finding ways to savor every moment and every memory. Advent invites me to anticipate the light in the darkness, the coming of the Christ who is Emmanuel, God with us.

 

 

 

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LifeCycle of Giving: Nurturing the Seed of Faith

Today we began a new sermon series, “LifeCycle of Giving.” This is the time of year when Stewardship is the emphasis as we plan on how we will support and underwrite ministries for 2020. This year we will focus on the lifecycle of trees, from seed to sprout, to flowers to fruit to regeneration. We celebrate All Saints and the series ends not with our consecration Sunday, but with Confirmation as young people choose to proclaim their own faith in their own way.

This afternoon, several United Methodist Churches gathered to participate together in a National Coming Out Day Celebration Service. Reverend Elizabeth “Liz” Evans preached a powerful sermon. She grew up here in Wichita and shared her story and her challenge that all of us, whether we are LGBTQIA or allies need to find ways to live into the world that God has created and move out of the dark caves of death and despair. The music, the stories shared through poetry and Brian Sutton’s testimony were all deeply moving. I am deeply grateful to have experienced this gift of grace.

This morning we focused on gratitude as one of the seeds of faith that enables us to give thanks for every moment and to help us be witnesses to the God of love and grace. We were given leaves to write down the names of those who planted the seeds in our lives and/or how our faith is being nurtured now. Those leaves we placed in our offering plates and will be displayed. You can find today’s worship service here.

 

 

 

 

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