Dear Peace Members,
“I’m not ready!” Those are the words I have heard from others and so often have said myself about Christmas. Have you said them too? Most likely you have.
It is one thing to say those words right around December 1 with twenty five days until the big day. It is a whole other matter to be saying, “I’m not ready”, on Christmas Eve. No one enjoys waking up on Christmas Eve morning wondering how we will be able to squeeze in three shopping trips in the day! No one enjoys thinking about all the wrapping that we have to do at the eleventh hour! No one really enjoys hurriedly barking commands to the family while we bake the batch of cookies with minutes to spare before company arrives.
To be ready for Christmas can mean something very special for you. The cards are sent. The packages are wrapped. The meal is prepped and planned. You are in church for Christmas Eve worship or Christmas Day worship with fifteen minutes to spare and relaxed. You are able to breathe a little deeper and take it all in. You are ready! This is a fantastic feeling.
Now let’s talk about spiritual readiness. Christmas gifts are great—spiritual readiness is something else, something far greater. Cards are special—spiritual readiness is bigger with a message for all time. Spiritual readiness happens when we are eager and hungry for the gift of Jesus, our Savior. As Christmas Day approaches we are a little less consumed with ourselves and a little more filled with a desire for Jesus.
Our goal at Peace this year is to be ready in all ways for Christmas—especially when it comes to our spiritual readiness. The season of Advent is designed to do this and it is my prayer that you take advantage of the many worship offerings at Peace. And that you do have that moment fifteen moments before worship on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day worship to take in all that Jesus means.
The Wednesdays of Advent (December 4, 11 and 18) will be special as the order of worship will be Holden Evening Prayer—a predominately sung service with a short, inspiring message. These services begin at 7 pm and will take no longer than 40 minutes.
We also have a great worship series planned for the Sundays leading up to Christmas. The series is designed to help us welcome Jesus—the light of the world—whose light rises in our lives. As our lives are more filled with His light, we shine it out for all to see. Here is what you can expect:
- December 1st: Rising Light (Isaiah 60:1): Living in the light of Jesus, we prepare to celebrate his birth. Repenting of our sins, we put away the works of darkness and dress in the armor of light.
- December 8th: The Children’s Christmas Program.
- December 15th: Reflected Light (Zechariah 9:16): During Advent we remember the birth of Jesus, the Light of the world. We reflect His light in our daily lives.
- December 22nd: Healing Light (Malachi 4:2): With repentant joy we anticipate the birth of our Savior. We listen to His Word and live according to it until He comes again.
- December 24th: Christmas Eve Worship with Carols, Communion and Candlelight at 7 pm. Eternal Light (Daniel 12:3): We look forward to Jesus’ Coming, when we will be raised in glory to live in His presence and shine like stars forever.
- December 25th: Christmas Day Worship with Communion at 10 am
I’m aiming to be ready this year! Come and join me and the rest of the Peace family. What a joy it is to prepare together as a family for Christmas!
Serving in His Light,
Thoughts from the Vicar
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “I Confess…”? Some guilt-stricken man in a courtroom yelling from the witness stand? Someone on their death bed? Perhaps a dark booth with a priest listening in. “I Confess…” It rarely is a pleasant thing to do, and yet we do it every Sunday at the beginning of Service! But why…?
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9If wehconfess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from allhunrighteousness.
10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
- 1 John 1:8-10
How can we make God a lair? Well, when the New Testament was first written down in Greek, the word used for “Confess” is was “ὁμολογέω” (Homo-Logeo). The word means “to say the same thing” or “to agree.” That’s what a confession is; it’s saying the same thing.
Scripture is clear – there is something broken in humanity – and it doesn’t take long for life to prove that something is wrong with people. God calls that brokenness “sin.” It’s a missing of the mark – a stumbling – a rejection of God’s will – not living up to the standard. There’s lots of ways to talk about sin, but there is one stark fact. God says everyone is full of sin. Just like a defendant in court, a patient at a hospital, or a student in class; God tells us “You’re guilty. You’re sick. You’re wrong.” We can either call God a lair and say that He’s the one who’s wrong, or we agree with God and say the same thing. We are guilty. We are sick. We are wrong.
But what a God we have! Instead throwing us in jail, God forgives us. Instead of leaving us to die, God heals us. Instead of giving up on us, God teaches us. There’s nothing about confessing at earns us forgiveness, but it’s God’s grace that had decided to give it to those who confess. So next Sunday when we start service with another Confession – and it doesn’t seem like you’re doing much of anything – remember: you’re not. All you are doing is saying the same thing as God, and it’s God who’s doing the real work of forgiving.
Vicar Christian Dollar
Peace by the Number
December First Saturday Breakfast
This month there will be a First Saturday Breakfast, however the breakfast will be open to men and women that would like to hear about a Special Rotary Program called “Peaceful Schools Program”. The breakfast venue has been sent to the Philomath Schools, and all members of Peace. Please see memo below for the detail:
Saturday December 7, at 9 a.m. there will be a Breakfast and Discussion about the “Peaceful School Program” This is a Rotary Lead program. Wayne Markel, from the Port Orford Rotary Club will present their Clubs experience working with the local his schools. There will be a breakfast served from 9-9:30, with a presentation and discussion led by Wayne Market from 9:30 – 10:30. Encourage as many people you feel would like to be informed of this event. With the recent report in the news about bullying and how that has been related to school shootings, one of the emphasis of the Peaceful School Program is to combat bullying.
Youth Christmas Program
Sunday School Students: We need YOU to begin thinking about participating in our annual Christmas program! Practices are always fun, we sing lots of Christmas carols, we practice our parts, and we always have snacks! Practices start promptly at 10 a.m. right after our Sunday School opening in the Sanctuary; so please don’t be late and be sure to attend all practices. We are counting on you to be there each Sunday as others are depending on you saying your lines. Please let us know if you have to miss a practice.
Also, please be thinking about prelude music–instruments you may want to play or songs you would like to sing.
Our schedule is as follows:
- Sunday, December 1–Practice & Costumes given to students
- Sunday, December 8–Dress Rehearsal and Christmas program presented to the congregation. Followed by Fellowship and Christmas Tree decorating.
If you have any questions, please see Colleen or Sally.
Christmas Tree Decorating
Join us in the sanctuary after the Youth Program and Fellowship if you would like to help put up the tree. We would love to see as many folks as possible to stay and assist in decorating the tree, listen to Christmas music, watch a Christmas movie, and enjoy Christmas treats.
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come to this celebration to the kick-off of the Christmas Season at Peace! This is a fun event and one to be shared by as many people as possible! See you there.
Eat, Chat, Pray Holiday Break
With the holidays comes schedule changes and churches are no exception. So…if you are an attending member of “Eat, Chat, Pray” you will be taking a break Wednesday, December 25 to spend time with your families for Christmas! That is the only day in December that we have changed…we will see you at the regular day and time for the rest of the month.
BIG Bazaar Thank You!
Words don’t fully capture my heartfelt appreciation for all your generous giving. The quality of the work that was done and the focus on the projects made this Bazaar happened. To volunteer in different areas you make it possible to give to the community and make it a better place. To name a few that went beyond and above to help can’t be done because there is so many. Yes here’s a list of some of the categories I’d like to give special thanks. The Children of Peace, music, the setup crew, Callie, Quilters, cookies, kitchen, Crafters, the checkout crew, raffle, hostess, prices, Granny’s Attic, pastor and vicar, outside decorations, sandwich boards, attic, one and all. Many hands do indeed make light work. Jani
Immanuel Albany Christmas Sing
Immanuel, Albany will be having our Christmas Carol Sing again this year at 3 PM on Sunday December 15 in the Sanctuary at 154 Madison SE, Albany. We will sing all your favorite Christmas Carols, hear some Christmas readings and enjoy coffee and cookies afterward. We look forward to hearing lots of joyful voices.
Holiday Hygiene Gift Baskets
Philomath Community Services, through Holiday Cheer program, provide gift baskets for children 0-18 years and to families in need. Someone from PCS Holiday Cheer program will be by to collect the baskets from Peace on December 6.
HYGIENE BASKET CONTENTS:
These are the items needed; if you think of something else (i.e. women’s products) that you could add, please feel free.
1 Sturdy laundry basket
1 Liquid dish soap (not machine)
1 Hair shampoo
1 Hand lotion
1 Dental floss
2 Men’s deodorant
1 Pack of Razors (12 pack)
1 Liquid laundry detergent
2 Hand soap (bar)
1 Hair conditioner
2 Women’s Deodorant
1 pack toilet paper (6 rolls)
Vina Moses Tree
Vina Moses is once again providing a Christmas tree for our entry way. This tree will contain tags with Christmas wishes of children from low income families in Benton County. Each year Peace has been a part of this wonderful tradition of giving Christmas to children who may not have one otherwise. As usual, please take a tag ONLY if you intend to fill the wish on the tag. Bring the item back to the church, unwrapped, with the tag attached to it. Vina Moses will be picking up the gifts from us during the first half of December.