To receive and share God’s accepting Grace, challenging Wisdom and transforming Love

STEDY – November 28, 2018

It’s that time of year when our tackier neighbors dust off their t-shirts, sweatshirts and banners bearing various messages like “Dear Santa, I want it all” or “Dear Santa, I can explain!” Usually when someone asks us what we want for Christmas we are ready with an answer. We can name the things we hope to receive. “Hope” is the theme of this, the first candle of Advent – our hopes and God’s hopes for us and for the world. But the hope of Advent is not like the hope we associate with Christmas gifts or lists. We often use “hope” as it were fragile thing. Hope seems like little more than a wish. It is a vague, anemic desire with no teeth in it and little chance of becoming a reality. The hope we read about in the Bible is much more robust. The people of the Bible reveal a hope worth risking for, a hope that pulls people from the present into the future. This hope spills out from one person’s life into the lives of others and changes everything.
Like many of the people we meet in the Bible, when we come to God with our hopes, we also bring our disappointments. We have all had times when what we hoped for didn’t happen and so our excitement and expectation is mixed with memories of time when plans fell through, when promises were not kept, when people disappointed us. We rarely approach any hope with absolutely no doubt or questions, and the same is true when we approach God. When people have failed us or we have failed ourselves, that sense of failure can creep into our hope. Christmas can be a time when unfulfilled hopes rise up to haunt us – or to taunt us. Memories of holidays that were less than we wanted them to be generate sadness and dread mixed with the joy we hope for during the Christmas season. Advent forces us to deal with this. As we read through passages drenched with promise and hope for a messiah who wouldn’t come for thousands of years but he came. This Sunday shouldn’t be approached glibly but with the honesty and the grit we see throughout the lives of those in the Bible, all the people whose faith despite disappointments are part of the messianic story. As we look at the fragile hopes hidden deep in the lining of our hearts and we relive the crazy stories leading to Jesus’ birth we can hear God say, “I guarantee absolutely nothing, yet I will give you everything. All you have to do is give me yourself.” Our lives continue to add crucial pieces to the work God is continuing to do in the world. While we don’t always understand it, with robust hope we know God is working all things for good.

~ Upcoming Events ~

Sunday, December 2
Team 1 Acolyting

Children’s Worship
10 am | Worship

Christmas Pageant Rehearsals
10:30 am | Sunday School Classrooms

Goat Yoga & Craft Fair
11 am | The Close
Bring some money to church this week as we will have local vendors,
food, drinks, games and face painting! At noon the goats arrive for a special goat yoga class. Spectators are welcome but it’s more fun in the class. Yoga is $25 per person. Please reserve your spot by contacting Heather.

Youth Group
5 – 7 pm
If you would like to host, please contact Heather.
Otherwise we will meet at the church and grab dinner at BMan’s

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“ANNIE”
Starring Richard Seymour
as Daddy Warbucks
Get your tickets today, not tomorrow for this delightful production of ANNIE presented by the Taylor Performing Arts Center in Monrovia, California! I’ll be performing the role of Daddy Warbucks with the lovely Naomi Stone as Annie and an amazing cast of wonderful performers.

Taylor Performing Arts Center
845 W Colorado Blvd, Monrovia, CA 91016
Friday, December 7 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 8 – 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 9 – 5:00 p.m.
For tickets:
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3880040
or call 800-838-3006

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Sunday, December 9
Team 2 Acolyting
Cereal Collection for Foothill Unity

Children’s Liturgy
10 am | Chapel

Christmas Pageant Rehearsals
10:30 am | Sunday School Classrooms

Service of Lessons & Carols
7 pm | Sanctuary

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Sunday, December 16
Team 3 Acolyting
Christmas Pageant

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Sunday, December 23
Team 4 Acolyting

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December 24
Family Service
4:30 pm
We will again be welcoming our favorite guest Mr. Hubert Humphrey

Christmas Eve Service
9 pm

Please feel free to contact Heather if you have questions.