Weekly News​

December 10, 2019

Dear Friends,

This is Spot. She’s one of our cats. She is enamored with our Christmas tree. I imagine she would love yours, too. She has an affinity for swatting the bells on the tree. There are times when our home sounds like a Salvation Army red kettle donation location–ding-ding, ding-ding, ding-ding.

We don’t have little children in our house anymore but I’m finding such joy in watching Spot the Cat wonder at that tree. It’s entertaining to watch her “hunting” for her next prey as she stares down a penguin or prepares to attack a reindeer. Last night she was gnawing on a bejeweled little high-heeled shoe. It was nice to see that she and I both love shoes.

Setting up and decorating the tree was not something I had been looking forward to doing. It felt like another task to get finished, like I was going through the motions. But now I’m so glad I did. While I didn’t get much joy out of setting it up, I sure am getting a kick out of watching Spot the Cat enjoying it. And, I admit, the light and color it brings into our home are welcome additions to the season.

My experiences with our tree this year reminds me that sometimes our feet need to go first and we can trust that our heart will follow. That is just as true for our spiritual journeys as any other endeavor in life. While we might not feel like going to a Bible study, once we get there we’re so glad we went. We might wonder if we have time to stop and pray but when we do, chances are we’ll feel better. Getting up for worship in the midst of a busy weekend might be the last thing we want to do, but, for me at least, once I’m here, I realize that the energy, Spirit, and Christian love I feel here are things I don’t get anywhere else.

I am confident that God is guiding our feet as we walk this Advent journey. It does my heart good to know that I’m sharing it with you.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Robin

​​ ​​​​​​Thank you, Linda Miller, for providing the weekly reflection and prayer.​​
Dear friends,

Memories. This is the season of memories. Some good, some distressing, but all are part of who we are and how we approach everything in life, to say nothing of how we approach Christmas. Christmas memories seem to be the most tangible memories we have. Hallmark has certainly capitalized on all those holiday memories! When I was a young mother, I tried so hard to come up with – and then follow through with – some sort of activity or food or something that we could do year after year and etch into the Miller Memory Collective. It didn’t really work. Maybe I tried too hard. You just can’t force a thing like making a memory. It just happens. Although egg nog cookies were the one thing my kids looked forward to every year.  Maybe that counts. I bought some egg nog last night and will get to those cookies real soon…

Fragrance. This is the season of fragrance. Some good, some not so good, but they all tend to take us right back to where we were when a certain fragrance caught our attention. The spicy balsam fir tree. You can’t beat that. Bayberry candles were a New England tradition. The smell of a fire burning in the fireplace. That’s a fragrance that says “I’m home” to me. The scent of Grandma’s hug – probably from Jergen’s lotion – tops the charts of fragrant memories. The pungent smell of burning coal takes me right back to my early childhood, living with my grandparents. They heated with coal and it had its own routine and scent and tradition.

Sound. This is the seasons of sounds. Ringing bells, from churches and curb-side Salvation Army volunteers. Honking horns voice the frustration of too many shoppers who waited too long in too many lines. Christmas carols are broadcast on most radio stations and in every shopping venue. It gets to where we don’t even hear them anymore. They become background noise unless we really stop to listen. Do you have a favorite carol whose melody is etched in your heart? Listen carefully and you will hear it . . . in your heart.

When Jesus was born in a stable long ago, there is no record of Mary’s travail of labor, her panting and moans. We hear only of her pondering the miracle of the birth of a healthy boy, firming the memory in her heart. And how fortunate that those Wise Men brought fragrant gifts to counter the odor of the stable! The angels made their joyful sounds, announcing the great Event to humble shepherds, inspiring their journey of wonder.

So . . . bake those cookies, bring a few pine branches into the house (or light a balsam candle), and tune in the Christmas carols, but don’t forget to listen for the silence of the stars and the hope of Peace on Earth.

Dear God,
Thank you for the sights, sounds and scents of this glorious season.
May they help us recall the real reason we celebrate. Amen.

This past Sunday's video is below.