Happy New Year!
I just finished creating the winter calendar of church activities and events (see attached), and I must say— there continues to be much renewal in the air! Whether you’re interested in personal spiritual growth, mission activities, bible study, or culture and the arts (or all of the above!), there’s something going on at CPC for you. And, if we’re missing anything, we always welcome new ideas…
Speaking of new ideas, this year’s Annual Meeting (1/29) will include an Offering of Time and Talent. This means that each person will be encouraged to think about the ways in which they’d like to volunteer their time and talents to the church in 2012. Do you enjoy working with children? We have a fabulous Sunday School Program! Do you like to learn about and discuss the Bible? We’re looking for a new Bible Study Coordinator! Do you have high tech skills that could help with our computer systems? We frequently need assistance in this area! And so on… Aside from the Pastor and a few part-time staff positions, most smaller-sized churches (including ours) rely heavily on the time and talents of their members to keep things running (and, hopefully, growing). Thus, I’m ever so grateful to all of our fabulous lay leaders and many volunteers who do everything from decorate the Sanctuary for Christmas to pay our electric bill in a timely fashion. YOU are the church!
And, yes, speaking of gratitude, we had a wonderful collection of services over the holidays that began with our joyful Nativity Pageant on 12/18 (with over 100 people attending), continued with our special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Fireside Services (with over 120 people attending), and concluded with our New Year’s Day Service (which about 40 hardy souls attended). The focus of the New Year’s Day Service was, in fact, gratitude! And each person in the congregation that morning wrote a thank you note to someone special in their lives—in gratitude for that person’s loving presence (as distinguished from any material presents…).
Because, as I said in my reflection:
… when it comes right down to it, that’s really what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about the gift of God’s Presence with us. God is present in Jesus, God is present in each one of us, God is present in this great big beautiful world. Okay, so let’s make use of the obvious pun—God is one big Present! The love of God is right here, right now, with us. Emmanuel has come. God-With-Us is here.
And that’s what I’m thinking about on this cold January day. God’s Presence. And your presence. And the blessing of our presence in the lives of one another.
May we continue to be a blessing to each other throughout the coming year!
With Gratitude and Joy,