FATHER MARK’S ANNOUNCEMENTS
1) Without a doubt, this is the strangest Christmas Eve I have ever experienced. Only one of our children home for the holiday, no gathering with friends, no snow, winds whipping all night long, and -- most strange of all – no celebration with you at the church with the music, the liturgy, and the communion that we so deeply cherish. I miss you all terribly, and I know you miss the church so much and especially on this night. While I know we’re not out of the woods yet, I do believe we will get through this and there will be a day soon when we are able to gather safely and celebrate the great gift of Emmanuel.
But tonight, everything is livestreamed.
The easiest way to access our service is from our website www.saintf.org.
We begin at 5:00 P.M. with a family Carol Sing. The idea is to gather with everyone in your household and enjoy some hot chocolate and peppermint and lots of fun singing together. All of the songs and hymns are beloved and familiar, and some are especially for the kids. Scott and Alyssa and Barb have put a great half-hour of fun together for us.
Immediately following, at 5:30 P.M. we will begin our Christmas Eve Worship. The bulletin and service can be accessed through our website. It’s a typical Christmas Eve service in some ways (children’s sermon, candle-lit Silent Night) and unusual in others (empty church, no gift bags or kids to give them to). But it is the best we have to offer this year. I do hope you will join us and that can be meaningful for you. As we have already pre-recorded it, there will not be drive-through communion following this service. There will be drive-through communion this Sunday, Dec 27th, however.
2) The office will be closed next week. Also no Tuesday or Thursday Coffee Zoom or Zoom Bible Study.
Merry Christmas to you, beloved members of St. Francis Episcopal Church!! May God’s Son and God’s Spirit bring you great Joy, Peace, and Blessings this day!
Happy Birthday!! Happy Anniversary!!
Jamie Selzer December 28 Brian & Mandi Sauer December 28
Sierra Sauer December 30 Bob & Barb Manasek December 29
***DON’T FORGET TO EMAIL OR CALL ME WITH YOUR PRAYER REQUESTS BY WEDNESDAY , DECEMBER 30th***
***Daily Devotion for Thursday December 17, 2020***
The 5 Steps – Pause * Listen * Think * Pray * Go
These are gifts of God’s Love.
We receive them in Christ.
In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
"There was no place for them in the guestroom." Have you been disappointed by not fitting in somewhere? Have you ever felt that you are missing a place to belong? Perhaps you have never experienced belonging somewhere.
Today’s scripture brings us guidance on what we can expect when we feel that we don’t have a place where we belong. In Christ we belong to David’s house and family line, which is the promise given from God to us. This makes us kin to Christ. We have a place where we belong, and it is with Christ. This is the beauty of Christmas – Jesus came to be among humankind, so that we all may be gathered together in Christ, so that we all may have a place at the table, so that we all may call God our home.
What are you worried about? Do you want to experience the feeling of belonging to God? Whatever it might be, know that you are from God.
Lord, thank you for giving me a place to belong. May I give you my worries of not feeling welcome in a place where I belong, and may I feel at peace knowing that I belong to God. Amen.
Where shepherds lately knelt, and kept the angel’s word,
I come in half belief, a pilgrim strangely stirred;
But there is room and welcome there for me,
but there is room and welcome there for me.
Can I, will I forget how Love was born and burned
its way into my heart unasked, unforced, unearned,
to die, to live, and not alone for me,
to die, to live, and not alone for me?
from “Where Shepherds Lately Knelt” by Jaroslav J. Vajda (1986)
***For those of you that would like to access these devotionals daily, you can go on this website: www.d365.org
Gina’s Office Hours
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Work from home)
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Work from home)
Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (In Office)
Rev. Erin Rath
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