Due to the blizzard conditions in the Mount Horeb area, all services on Sunday, December 12, 2010 have been canceled.
The Sunday School Christmas program scheduled for Sunday, December 12, 2010 has been postponed to Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 10:30 AM due to the inclement weather.
Church services at 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM will be held as usual on December 12, 2010. Please watch the website or call the church office at (608) 437-5012 for further updates.
Most all in the coming weeks, I long to hear those familiar words:
“And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
There is so much that happens between now and then, some of it wonderful, some of it not so great. As we enter December, we are in the season of Advent, a time to prepare for the coming of our Lord at Christmas, and the return of Christ at the end of all days. This can be both a wonderful and anxious time in our homes and in our lives. The watchwords of the season of the church encompass big questions for our lives. The season of Advent urges us to consider:
hope & fear deliverance
darkness & light repentance
Meanwhile the worldly “Holiday Season” fills us with another whole set of questions and feelings. Too often our days are filled with concerns of:
Saving & spending Abundance & Scarcity
Expectation & disappointment Family peace
Cleaning, cooking, wrapping, decorating, scheduling, travel, competition, gatherings, anxiety, and the list goes on.
If this year is like so many others, there will be both times of great joy and contentment, as well as moments of disillusionment and worry.
My hope and prayer for you in this season is that you can discover joy in the preparation and the celebration. Jesus’ arrives each year into a world that is preoccupied, harried, and often ignorant of the ‘good news’ of the season. That means he arrives for me and for you. He is in this world for us, even when we don’t notice, but take time to discover the joy and peace he brings in the midst of the hustle and bustle, and share that love with those who you treasure.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17
Pastor Ruben Mostrom quoted this verse from Psalms as he began his message to the membership of ELC over 50 years ago, as our congregation embarked on the building our current structure. The cornerstone of this building was laid in 1960. Now our congregation has again committed to a plan which is designed to enhance our ministry for the coming years.
The words Pastor Mostrom used then seem to echo for a new generation today: “Now it is our turn to continue to express our faith in terms of our day and our needs. We have a responsibility because we are many, and because we have inherited. Others before us have served well and faithfully in ministry and life. We dare not do less. We who love our Lord, love our congregation and our church. This moment and its hopes is not an ambitious pipe dream of the young—it is a sober NEED and TRUST for all who name the name of Christ.” (reprinted from the “To the Glory of God” booklet distributed for the building campaign in 1960)
I know there are many reading this who helped make that building project the success it has been, and we will need your experience and encouragement as we move ahead. And there are many of my generation and younger who have benefitted from all the work of those who came before. It is time for us to come together, not just to build a structure, but to build and enhance the Lord’s ministry for this community today, and for the generations who will follow us. Thanks be to God!
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
2 that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations
6The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
7 May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.
I often think of this psalm at this time of year. “The earth has yielded its increase”, that is apparent as the produce of gardens, and the crops of the field have reached maturity. It is a wonder to enjoy fresh fruit from the orchards, vegetables from the gardens and watch farmers harvesting grain for the coming winter.
There are many challenges in our daily lives, and stresses on our society. But in the midst of difficult economic news, tragedies that have impacted our community, and concerns for loved ones each day, there remains this over-riding truth: “We remain a very blessed and fortunate people.”
Now, along with a sense of thanksgiving and wonder, the psalm makes one other declaration: We are blessed to be a blessing. God is gracious to us, but also has, from the beginning, declared that we are not simply to enjoy this goodness, but to share it. That sharing takes as many forms as there are children of God. Yes, we can share the bounty of the earth, and we can also share the joy of fellowship, the opportunity to celebrate, a listening ear to the burdened heart, and the warmth of an embrace to the lonely or hurting.
We are a blessed people, and with those blessings come opportunities to live and share the good news of God our creator, Christ our redeemer, and the Spirit who gives us strength each day.
Pastor John Twiton