Green Hill Good News Online Edition for December 2017
Ed Miller and Joel Mikuta, cutting the cake on Veterans’ Appreciation Sunday
Have you ever noticed that numbers have an awful lot to do with Christmas? There was a star. Not any star, but one in particular. The one that three kings followed from afar. Two parents were involved in Jesus’ birth; Mary and Joseph. A sum of money had to be exchanged between Joseph and the innkeeper. We never heard how much, but nobody stays for free, even in a stable.
And as the years have flown by, numbers have become even more prominent when we think about Christmas. Every December when I was a child, a daily cartoon appeared on the front page of the New Britain Herald. The cartoon counted down the number of shopping days until Christmas. Of course, in those days Sunday was not considered a shopping day, so that countdown only reflected weekdays and Saturdays. Today as I write, there are 33 shopping days till Christmas 2017. This reflects how the world has changed, since many shop on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, as they prepare to exchange a number of gifts in celebration of the birth of our Lord.
The number of gifts seemed important as a child. For many, the number is still important. Because, (as I’ve been told) the greater the number, the better the Christmas. (My brother, eight years older than I, always gave me the best gifts. One year an erector set, one year a chemistry set.)
What’s the most expensive gift you have ever given? How much, in dollar$? What’s the most expensive gift you’ve ever received? How much, in dollar$?
And through the years, I have always been struck by the number of people who come to church on Christmas Eve. I was an associate at a large church in Pasadena, California after I graduated seminary. We got about 300 every Sunday, but I cannot remember how many came for Christmas Eve. (It was so long ago.)
My first church as a pastor was in Stamford, Connecticut. Two services on Christmas Eve. We got about 30 at 7 PM. Much fewer, (15-17) at 11 PM, most of whom had been there at 7. Valentine, Nebraska – 300 every year, and many were not Presbyterians. Many were people I knew from town. Many had no church. But after I saw the town insurance man, (a Methodist) attend a couple of years in a row, I asked him why he didn’t go to the Methodists for Christmas Eve. He told me that their service was at 6, ours at 7. This allowed for one extra hour of Christmas shopping. 200 every year in Texas, and more than half were out of town family members.
You know what? None of the numbers matter. Except one. As in Holy One. Because He is what Christmas is all about. God’s only-begotten Son, the Savior, Christ our Lord. The birth of God the Son, Immanuel, God made man. Our one priceless gift.
You too might notice the world’s preoccupation with numb3rs this time of year. But remember that there is only one number that counts. Because it’s the Holy One‘s birthday. He’ll be here on His birthday. I hope you will be as well. He teaches: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there.” [Matt. 18.20]
So, see you on December 24th! 11 AM – Sunday Worship. 6 PM – Christmas Eve.
(and) Merry Christmas!
PRAYER LIST NAMES
Please note that on the first Sunday in January, the church office will start off the New Year with a new prayer list. We are going to remove everyone and start fresh. If you know of someone who should remain on the list, or of someone who needs to be added to the list, please contact the church office. Thank you.
SPECIAL WEDNESDAY EVENINGS IN DECEMBER
December 6 – Decorating the Chrismon Tree
December 13 – Christmas Caroling in the Fellowship Hall
December 20 – Birthday Party for Jesus
December 27 – No Evening Program
GREENING OF THE CHURCH
On Wednesday, November 29, everyone who is able to make it is invited to participate in the annual “Greening of the Church,” also known as the “Hanging of the Greens.” Immediately following the Men’s Bible Study, we will pull the boxes out of the attic and decorate the church. This will include putting up the tree in the Sanctuary, setting up the Advent candles, hanging the wreaths, and more.
Please join us in this annual tradition of preparing the church building for the Advent and Christmas Season.
HOMESCHOOL THEATER PERFORMANCE
The homeschool theater class is going to put on a show! On Monday, December 4, at 6pm, the Fellowship Hall will be transformed into a stage, complete with backdrops and costumes. The students of the theater classes will perform a play demonstrating what they have learned this past semester. The show is for the parents, but church members have been warmly invited to attend.
PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN CHRISTMAS PARTY
The annual Presbyterian Women Christmas Party will be held on Friday, December 8, at 5pm, in the Fellowship Hall. All of the women in the church are invited, even if you don’t usually attend PW events.
PW SANTA FOR SENIORS THROUGH SARCOA
We are sponsoring a Coffee County senior through the SARCOA’s Santa for Seniors program again this year. We are so excited about making a wonderful Christmas for a senior living with her disabled adult son and small dog. Posted in the Fellowship Hall are some suggestions for needed gifts. If you can help please sign the list on the PW Christmas tree to signal that you are taking care of that item. Please have all (unwrapped) gifts to church no later than the PW Christmas Party on Friday, December 8.
WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA
Join us on National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, December 16. Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,200 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
In Enterprise, the local Wreaths Across America ceremony will be held at Meadowlawn Cemetery at 11:30am. Last year our Green Hill Girl Scouts participated in the opening ceremony and all of the Green Hill children look forward to being able to lay wreaths again this year.
Information for the January Green Hill Good Newsletter needs to be submitted to the church office by Monday, December 18. You can contact the office by email or by phone, or you can drop your news off in the basket on the door. Many thanks to those who contribute!
If you are going place a poinsettia in the Sanctuary for Christmas, Monday, December 18, is the last day to let the church office know. Please fill out one of the red slips from the pew racks and drop it in the offering plate or in the basket on the office door. The names of everyone being honored/remembered will be printed in the Christmas Eve bulletin.
TOYS FOR TOTS
Green Hill will once again serve as a distribution point for the Toys for Tots program. Each year Family Services takes over our Fellowship Hall for two days by filling it with bags and bags of toys. Families who have registered for the program will come to Green Hill to pick up the toys for their children. This year the toys will be distributed on Friday, December 22.
We will have our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Sunday night. Following the service, everyone is invited to the Fellowship Hall where we will enjoy hot cider and Christmas snacks. If you have a favorite holiday treat or candy, please bring it to share.
CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING
The purple Christmas Joy Offering envelopes are in the pew racks for anyone who feels called to make a contribution to this fund. Donations will be used to support retired ministers and their families and for racial and ethnic religious programs at colleges.
CONGREGATIONAL MEETING DECEMBER 31
The annual Congregational Meeting for 2017 will be held on Sunday, December 31, immediately following the morning worship service. All Green Hill members are asked to attend.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL – “Victory” by the Go Fish Guys
The Bible is filled with examples of God’s people shouting and cheering in response to His might acts of power. This summer we will invite our local children to do the same by remembering who God is, what He has done, and what He promises to do!
We don’t have the dates yet, but we have the beginnings of a plan. As a bit of a change this year, we are going to include our older children, our teens and tweens, in some leadership roles. VBS is not only for teaching young children about the Bible, it is also an opportunity for us to help mold the Christian leaders of tomorrow.
We have about six months to make this plan come together. Please begin praying now. God is going to use us to do amazing things at Green Hill this summer!
On the first Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of Hope. This candle is also referred to as the Prophecy Candle. It reminds us that Jesus’ coming was prophesied hundreds of years before He was born. The candle’s purple color represents Christ’s royalty as King of Kings.
On the second Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Peace. This candle is also referred to as the Bethlehem Candle. It reminds us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It too is purple, reminding us that it was a King who was born in a manger.
On the third Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of Joy. This candle is also referred to as the Shepherd’s Candle. We are reminded that God sent the angels to proclaim His arrival to common man and that He still uses ordinary people today to spread the good news of Christ. The candle is pink or rose to represent God’s faithfulness.
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of Love. This candle is also referred to as the Angel’s Candle. As we light this flame, we are reminded of the heavenly hosts that proclaimed Christ’s arrival. This candle is also purple, reminding us that it was a King’s birth the angels were announcing.
On Christmas Eve, we light the Christ candle. We remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, which was foretold by the prophets, happened in Bethlehem, was revealed to the shepherds, and proclaimed by the angels. All month long we have been waiting and preparing. On this night we celebrate!