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THE RECTOR'S DESK - The Rev. William D. Oldland
||A few days after Labor
Day, I went to one of the stores here in Reidsville. I was headed toward the automotive
section to fmd a part for my boat trailer. As I went through the store I saw Labor Day
sale stuff coming down. In its place I saw Halloween candy and costumes being unpacked.
Then I rounded the corner and I almost fell over in surprise at what I saw. In front of me
were two employees setting up fake Christmas trees with lights and garlands. I don't mean
a display Christmas tree. I'm talking about trees for sale to the public. I know Cluistmas
was commercialized, but having the decorations up this early was incredible. Christmas is
not a commercial adventure. Christmas is an event. Christmas is an event to be savored and
Something tells me the early church fathers knew we would want to jump to the Christmas event. As a result, prior to the event of Christmas, the church celebrates the season the Advent. Advent is a Latin term that means "coming". The first advent was the birth of Christ, the Incarnation. The Second Advent refers to Christ's coming again. The early church fathers decided we needed a season of preparation. So Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Christ.
However, with all of the material hype about Christmas, how does one prepare? Society pushes the envelope of trying to prepare for Chrisunas earlier and earlier every year. Talk of the holidays and the Christmas rush start in September. How do we, as Christians, prepare when the world around us wants to catch up into the whirlwind of buying presents, sending cards, getting trees and just running frantically in circles?
There are so many ways we can take time to help prepare and step out of the whirlwind. A simple way might be to make an Advent wreath. Use the prayers for the lighting of the Advent wreath with friends and family at the evening meals. The prayers are beautiful and they might slow us down just a moment to reflect on who we are spiritually.
Another source for preparation is the Forward Day by Day. This prayer guide helps us read the scriptures appropriate to the day and focuses our attention on our relationship to God and to others. Reading the scriptures and saying the prayers has the added benefit of slowing us down just enough to help us reflect on God .
A very important source is attending church. Since the church sees Advent as a time of preparation we celebrate the Eucharist using Rite I. This rite is described as penitential. The prayers are designed to be more introspective. The service causes us to pause and reflect on our sinfulness, our mortality and the redemptive power of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All of these tools are useful for us as we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. Then when Christmas arrives, we not only celebrate the birth of Christ two thousand years ago, but we have taken the time to prepare ourselves, even just a little bit, for the coming of Christ again. This preparation is much more important than rushing around with a shopping list, a fist full of credit cards, and a fake Christmas tree.
I close this letter with a poem written by an anonymous Episcopal priest in his book the vicar's verses.
Advent leads to birth;
Such is The Good News
And so He does.
Please try to keep your pledge payments caught up. Thank you.
*A complete financial statement is displayed on the bulletin board next to the Vestry Meeting room.
HEALING SERVICE with Anointing and the Laying on of Hands and the Holy Communion, every Wednesday at noon in the chapel.
On Wednesdays beginning September 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Church, an additional service will be added.
Everyone is welcome!
Thoughts on Stewardship
"I don't think anyone on their dying bed has ever said, "I wish I had spent more time at the office."
. This is the third stewardship article I've written in the past two or so years on the subject of time. I say to myself, "At least I'm trying to focus on an aspect of my life on which I need a great deal of improvement." My problem is that I'm not very successful in dealing with this subject. I did, however, attend a Franklin Covey workshop in August on the subject of time and how we spend it. I learned that even though it is impossible to actually manage time, we can manage events. I was also reminded that time is a part of our lives that we can never "have back" or recall. That makes what we do each and every day so significant.
This is the second occasion in the past two months that I have not been to visit my parents at least one day during the week. At this point I'm feeling pretty guilty about my inability to get things done and get my priorities in order. About 10 years ago I was greatly influenced by an article written for our company newsletter by Watts Carr, our division president. Watts' mother had recently died and he wrote about the importance of time spent with those we love and those who are really of value to us. Right then, I made up my mind that I would go by my parent's house every single day on my way home from work for a visit. My failure to do this even once during the past five days made me realize how often I give just a "fringe" of myself to those I love the most. No matter how much I rationalize about the need to finish up work at the office or attend a nightly meeting, I still find myself coming up without an adequate excuse.
The following quote from a recent issue of the "Ministry of Money" newsletter suddenly became very relevant to me. A woman, who lives near the Indian-Tibetan boarder said, "I can't understand it. My sister in the capital, she has all these things to do the work faster. She just buys her clothes in a shop, she has a jeep, a telephone, a gas cooker. All these things save so much time, and yet when I go to visit her, she doesn't have time to talk to me."
Can anyone else identify with this? We work morning and night and then into the night. We are so busy with our own needs that those of our families are often put "on hold." No matter how fast-paced our lives have become, we must to decide between doing what is meaningful and doing something that, if we think about it, may have very little value. Sometimes we must even admit that if we work all day and all night, we will still not be able to get it all done. Jesus told Martha, who at the time was totally occupied in doing household chores, that her sister Mary, in being with him, had chosen "what is important."
How will people remember us? How do we want people to remember us? What really matters most?
December 12 10:30 a.m. at Dottie Worth's home
The Vestry meets on Monday December 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Vestry Room.
1: Martha Balsley
6: John Bullock
9: Jan Wheless
10: Jenny Johnson
12: Reid Teague, Jr.
14: Jonathan Gourley
18: Claire Fraser
19: Hillary Martin
24: Ann Claire
27: Richard Frohock
29: Bill Bobbitt
Food Donations for the Reidsville Outreach Center
Fourth Sunday Each Month! - December 23 - Canned Meat & Chili
Tiny Saints will be meeting every Sunday of each month in the Parish House. Children ages 2-6 are invited to participate in this 45 minute session on Episcopalian traditions. The children sing songs, have a child's version of the day's lesson and a litany. There is also craft time and a snack. The children are returned to their families during the Peace for communion. Questions? Call Leslie Phipps.
St. Thomas' would like to thank everyone who participated in the Thanksgiving Day Dinner. There were numerous people from St. Thomas who pirched in and helped in so many ways. Thanks to participating churches, organizations, and individuals that contributed their time as well. Many thanks go out to all the participating restaurants.
To everyone at St. Thomas,
We here at Help, Inc. would like to thank each of you for thinking of us. We really appreciate the donated Household goods, table, and chairs. God Bless each of you.
Craig and I wanted to thank you for all that you did to make Carson and Cole's baptism so special. It was perfect! We loved it. Thank you, Thank you!
Lisa, Craig, Carson & Cole
Beginning in September, newsletter articles need to be in our office by the 20th of each month. Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.
|The school is doing great. They
just participated in the Reidsville Christmas Parade and won 1st place for the float. A
big thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Ham for providing their truck and driving in the parade. Also
big thanks to Lisa Walker for coordinating everything. Another huge success at EDS.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.
|Dear Church Family,
We have had a good couple of weeks. We read "Little Red Hen," and learned that we need to help others. We all helped to make bread. We are so thankful for the kitchen here at church. We have been able to make wonderful things that go with our lessons. We have been learning about the Pilgrims coming to America, and how they became friends with the Indians. We are learning to be thankful in big areas, and small areas.
We had our Grandparents Day for "G" week. The children helped to make a breakfast casserole, and blueberry muffins. They played board games with their grandparents.
We had a great Thanksgiving Day feast on November 20th. It was enjoyed by everyone who attended.
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