I have been reflecting often about the turmoil and suffering that many in our world are experiencing – from those who are terrorized, who are hungry and have no clean water, those who live on the streets of our communities, who know loss and sorrow, those who live in deep pain every day. As the days grow shorter we can see the darkness that is spreading, a threatening gloom, a somber reality. And this is exactly why we practice our faith through Advent to prepare for Christmas.
Advent worship allows us to claim the harsh realities of life, the truth about looming shadows, to acknowledge our fear and anxiety and not simply gloss over it with a hallow Merry Christmas. The merriness of Christmas is mostly deeply experienced when we recognize the places in our lives that need healing and comfort, restoration and forgiveness. The Light of Christ will shatter the darkness which allows us to take hold of that darkness instead of if getting hold of us.
On this coming 3rd Sunday of Advent we will are encouraged to face the gloom with the joy of faith. Continuing with the ministry of John the Baptist in Luke 3:7-18 we are reminded that repentance includes faithful action on our part as we are called into the grand plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. I look forward to our time of celebration in worship.
I would also like to encourage everyone to make time to participate in our annual Blue Christmas Worship Service on Monday, December 21 at 7 PM in our fellowship hall. This beautiful and peaceful service helps us all gain a healthy perspective on Christmas and promotes healing, balance and well being in the midst of anxiety, stress, and sorrow.
During Advent we have moved our Tuesday evening “Church in the Wild” Sips, Snacks and Study to the Clubhouse at the Anaheim Hills Golf Course. We gather each week at 5:30 PM to explore the scripture lessons for the following Sunday’s worship. Also, make some time to arrive early to worship to experience our Pre-Game Advent Prayer and Reflection stations, different stations each week.
There is so much more exciting things to tell about – from our new opportunities for local service as we begin to support a Shower Ministry for homeless at 1st Presbyterian Church in Garden Grove to the many ways we are working to help others close to home and across the globe. Plus if you love Christmas Music New Hope Presbyterian is hosting a Jazzy Christmas Concert at 4 PM on Sunday, December 13 at 1st Presbyterian Church, Orange and the Sylvia Cotton Gospel Singers are presenting a concert in our sanctuary this Sunday, December 13 at 5 PM. Tickets are available at www.mynewhopepres.org or www.cottonministries.com.
Take a break from cooking and kitchen clean up and join us at Don Jose’s this Monday, December 14 as we support our local mission work. Poinsettias for Christmas Eve worship the sanctuary may be reserved this year for $10 per plant. Make your reservations online beginning December 9 or through our worship bulletins.
In His Service,
Rev. Lissa Smith