First, an apology. I really did not do great at keeping the blog updated with the gratefulness calendar. So, I ask your understanding. I tried something new...but I really know myself well enough to know that this was not a great idea for me! I am easily distracted and often I remembered that I didn't write while I was going to bed and went "oops." So I am going to return to what I'm a bit more comfortable with and that's updating weekly/bi-weekly or whenever the Spirit strikes me with an idea to write. Maybe I'll try the gratefulness challenge again next year and do better. Not looking for perfection, just improvement!
Now on to your regularly scheduled program :)
Things are bustling and moving around the church at this time of year. Besides the normal church activities, choir, band, bible studies, meetings, etc., the Advent season is always full of energy and newness. We hustle and bustle from task to task--decorating trees, addressing Christmas cards, hanging lights, and setting up our Nativity Scenes. We open the doors of Advent calendars (A HUGE shout out to my godmother who bought a Harry Potter POP Advent Calendar for the little one and me to open every day! Also note... opening 1 door a day is a difficult concept for a toddler... and her HP loving mama!) to mark the passing days as we move closer and closer to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We light the candles in a wreath and focus on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love as we await the coming of the Savior, the coming of God in human form.
We look to the magic and the mystery of the season and we do things to help us try and capture the beauty of season and its message: Emmanuel, God with us, is coming and the world will be forever changed. There's a transformation that is going to happen and it is coming wrapped in the form of small child. So what transformation is this? It's a heart transformation. It's our heart that is going to change from an inward focus to seeing the world through the eyes of Emmanuel and this means that every person is known, seen and recognized as a beloved child of God and that everyone has been created in God's own image and should be treated as such.
And here we have some more of the hustling and bustling that First Moravian Church is engaging in. At this moment, the congregation has _____ initiatives going on to help us to recognize, see, and experience that magic of the season by serving and helping others:
Dear Brothers and Sisters collection: a yearly donation that is given to Mlogolo in order to feed, clothe and care for children.
The Giving Tree: Collecting toys for children in need in the Riverside School District
Loads of Love: Providing time at a laundromat to pay for people to have clean clothing.
Tabbie Bags: This is another new initiative of the First Moravian Congregation. We have partnered with a local mom and nurse in the area to help collect items to pack into gallon sized zip lock bags and give out to people in need in the Riverside/Delanco/Delran area. On Tuesday, December 4, 65 bags were packed by members of the congregation and in the community. We are still collecting items to pack and give out in January.
Emmanuel, God is with us and calling us see the wonder of this season through new eyes. Not just through the gifts, and the busy-ness of getting ready, but through God's eyes. What does this mean? For me, it means fulfilling the call of the prophet Isaiah. To be sent to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, and to comfort all who mourn. Moving through this season, I encourage you to see the world and those people who may need to hear this word of proclamation and encouragement.