December Newsletter

Pastor's Note 

It may seem strange given this is the December Newsletter, but I would like to write briefly about Easter and its relationship to Advent. You may think maybe I have gone off the rails after all Advent relates to Christmas not Easter. Christmas, and the massive thing it has become culturally, has become the central event of the Christian year. It is certainly as time to celebrate. We celebrate the birth of our savior, but I think also we are celebrating much more. Whatever may have been worrying us as the school year began begins to ebb. The kids may be back into a routine, and even when it comes to gift giving, which is never easy, at least we may begin to recognize what people in our lives need as we connect with them more deeply. So, you will never see me or hear me fighting over Christmas, I love it, in all its guises, and I love celebrating it in church, especially this year.

It is important to note that if, as N.T. Wright says, you removed the Christmas from the Bible (and I am not suggesting we do,) you would lose one chapter in Matthew and two in Luke. If you removed Easter, you wouldn’t have a New Testament. Advent is surely a time of waiting, with our purple liturgical colors on full display, we know that as the color suggests, we are somewhere in between darkness and light. Advent belongs to the Old Testament as we await the birth of the one who will save us all. But while we wait for the spontaneous inbreaking of grace into the world in Jesus, we should not be afraid to take time and remember the fact that the grace experienced in the birth, life, ministry, words, death, and resurrection is always reflected in the church not simply when it celebrates the miracle of Christmas, but when it experiences God’s justice rolling down like never ending waters. That justice, brought to us in Jesus, is what we seek and is what begins at Christmas time, as celebrate the ushering in of God’s kingdom. This happens in small ways as well as large. It happens in the building of relationships, the integration of grief into our lives, the budding signs of hope in a broken world, giving a gift. The small, local experiences are just as capable of telling the world about our savior as any wide scale program or policy can do.

A Christmas birth leads us to Bethlehem, it leads to a cross, and an empty grave. It leads us to one another and new ways of living in grace, peace, and love. Have a wonderful Advent season! Have a merry Christmas, do not forget what Jesus came to do, remember that Jesus came for you!

Upcoming Events

Kids Night Out: Santa’s Workshop - December 4
Bethany will be hosting a Kids Night Out at Santa’s Workshop from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 4. Children of all ages are invited to attend to do some Christmas shopping (they will need their own money to purchase gifts), eat dinner, and watch an age-appropriate Christmas movie with popcorn and concessions!

Breakfast by the Men's Ministry - December 5
The men of Bethany will once again be serving the congregation and friends following the two services on Advent Sunday, December 5 at 9:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. in the Great Room. The men will serve our traditional ham and breakfast hash brown potatoes, biscuits and sausage gravy along with scrambled eggs, onions and peppers and warm applesauce. Come one, come all before and after the Cantata that Sunday.  

Advent Cantata - December 5
Bethany's Advent Cantata will be on December 5 during the 10:45 a.m. service. Gather together in a celebration of praise for the coming of the Savior. Limited musical offerings will also be presented during the 8:15 a.m. service.

Presbyterian Women Christmas Gathering - December 11
The Presbyterian Women will be hosting their Christmas gathering on Saturday, December 11th. All women of Bethany Church are invited to attend.

Bethany Blood Drive - January 16 
Bethany is partnering with Vitalant to host a “double donation” blood drive campaign, Save Lives - Feed Families. Each contribution will feed as many as 25 families experiencing food insecurity. As an added bonus, Vitalant will also be testing successfully completed blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies to find potential donors who could give convalescent plasma in the future. Stay tuned for more details.
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