From Our Pastor

Home for Christmas

Posted 20 December, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

I have carried with me this week wonderful memories of worship last Sunday, when the children of First UMC led us in worship with their gift of "Christmas around the World." I know you join with me in thanking these children, as well as their families and the staff of the church who played significant roles in bringing about this inspired time of worship. I am also grateful to remember welcoming Stacey and Simone Humphreys into the membership of this community of faith.

While I am grateful to remember, I am also grateful to anticipate the service of worship before us this Sunday. We will share in a service of "Lessons and Carols" which recalls God's story of salvation, a story fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. An eleven-piece orchestra will accompany the Chancel Choir; the story of the birth of Jesus as found in Matthew 1:18-25 will be shared. I cannot think of a better way to prepare for the gift of God's son than to share in time of worship at 11am Sunday morning (remember there is no 8:45am service this Sunday.)

Worship Sunday morning leads us into worship on Monday night, Christmas Eve. The 8pm service of worship offers an interactive time for our children, "What God wants for Christmas." Leigh Showman will share this story. The Chancel Choir will also sing at 8pm. The 11pm service will be more traditional. Each service will offer candlelight and communion; each service will proclaim the story of the birth of Jesus as found in Luke 2. First UMC is truly your "Home for Christmas" this Christmas Eve.

We remember the words of our Savior as we serve those in need in this community. We did so this past Monday as 290 bags of food were delivered to elementary school children at Patrick Henry, Albert Harris, and Campbell Court Schools. Thank you for your gifts which help us serve those who have need. This past Saturday, we also served 420 of our neighbors by way of the Food Bank, and 450 neighbors by way of the Clothes Closet. A prayer room is also available for those wishing a place to pray as these ministries take place; four persons went to this prayer room.

We held our last midweek Advent service yesterday at noon in the sanctuary. These services were a great blessing and time of worship for me and for all who shared in them. I look forward to sharing in these services of worship again as we begin the season of Lent in March.

As I encourage you to pray for the General Conference of the UMC each day from 2:23-2:26. I also ask you to pray for Bishop Sharma Lewis. Bishop Lewis is having hip replacement surgery December 20th in Atlanta. Thank you for your prayers.

In this season so rich with memories, I carry with me great anticipation, knowing we will experience God in powerful and holy ways in these days to come. I am excited to be "home for Christmas" with you.