Linden Letter Linden Heights United Methodist Church

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1 Linden Letter Linden Heights United Methodist Church December Mark 4: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news. Do you ever feel like you get caught up in a hurry up and wait situation? You know, those times when you seem to rush to get somewhere or to do something only to then have to wait for a while before that activity can actually start. For example, you hurry up and rush to get out of the house to head to the beach and find yourself waiting in a long line at the bay bridge. You hurry up to get to your child s game/concert/match and then wait, sometimes for hours, for your child to do his or her thing. You hurry to the movie theater only to have to wait through endless ads before the movie begins. There are a lot of times when we hurry up and wait. The Advent and Christmas season can feel like a hurry up and wait kind of situation. We want to hurry through the fall season so that we can get to the time when we can decorate, put up trees, and listen to Christmas music (without feeling guilty). As soon as Thanksgiving is over we hurry up to get the Christmas season going, but then we have to wait a full month for Christmas to arrive. The wait can seem long, especially for our children, or for those parents dealing with the Elf on the Shelf. So what do we do while we wait? This Advent season, I invite you to join me in intentionally celebrating God s good gift of time. Sometimes things don t go well or we have days that are hard. However, even in the mist of those times, there are precious moments of peace or joy, and moments when we simply know that God is near. During Advent, as we wait to celebrate Christmas, let s celebrate, appreciate, and treasure God s good gift of time. Let us try to enjoy all of the little moments in our days as best as we can. Give thanks for the time that is slow and quiet. Give thanks for the time that is hurried and busy. Give thanks for the moments with family. Give thanks for the moments with friends. Give thanks for time with God. In just a few short weeks the waiting will be over and Christmas will be here. In the meantime, let us enjoy all that this season of waiting brings, and let us all give thanks for the gift of time. Mission This December we are collecting two things. We are collecting donations of new dog and cat toys to donate to a local shelter. If you would like to donate pet toys, please place them in the grey bin in the breezeway. We are also collecting scarves, hats, gloves, and socks for those in our community who need these items. Donations of these winter items can be placed in the

2 basket beside the tree in the breezeway. We will be going to Manna House on Dec. 30th to provide breakfast to our homeless and hungry neighbors. If you can help with the shopping, cooking, or serving, please contact the church office and we will put you in touch with those in charge. Children & Youth Thanks to all who supported our Operation Christmas Child project. Because of your generosity we were able to pack 60 boxes! Reminder: We will not have Sunday School on the following Sundays: December 24 December 31 January 7 Have a blessed holiday and we will see the children and youth back in Sunday school on January 14, Chick-Fil-A Fundraiser for our Youth: Join us on Tuesday, December 19th at Chick-Fil-A on Joppa Rd. from 5-8 pm. They will donate a portion of your bill to our youth program to help offset the cost of the ROCK retreat. Thank You! Hello, my name is Benjamin Duda and I am a member of the church and a Boy Scout with troop 444 and I would like to thank you for all the help that I have received towards my Eagle Project. The donations were more than generous and I can t thank you enough. A quick run-down of what your donations helped do, I have sifted the existing sand removing rocks and broken toys, and added 4 tons of new sand into the sand box along with power washing and re-staining the sand box. I have power washed and stained all the wood in the playground, primed and repainted the chain link fence, painted the monkey bars, have put rubber mulch under the swings and slide, and also added new swings on the swing set. Once again thank you for your donations, Have a Merry Christmas, Sincerely: Benjamin Duda Troop 444 From Pastor Alicia: I wanted to let you know that January 2 nd through January 12 th I will be in D.C. at Wesley Theological Seminary in classes for my doctoral program. I will be home on the weekends and in church on Sunday! If you have a pastoral emergency during this time please call my cell phone If you need information, have a question, or need to get information to me, please text my cell phone or send an to Thank you for all of your experssions of support and encouragement as I begin this new adventure in my life! Pastor Alicia

3 Thank you to everyone who helped clean up the outside of our property to prepare it for winter. It took many hands and a lot of hard work! We appreciate everyone who made the lawn look so neat and tidy and welcoming to our neighbors! Thank you to everyone who decorated the sanctuary and church spaces for the season of advent. Your hard work provides a wonderful visual element to our worship and makes this season even more special. Thanks so much! Thank you to everyone who made our Advent Workshop such a success! Because of your efforts we got to share a meal with our church family and do some crafts that will brighten our homes and the spaces of those who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Thank you for making it possible! Advent Living Nativity December 16th 5:30-7 pm. This is one of our largest outreach events of the year. Please consider joining us to tell the story of the Good News of Jesus s birth!! You can help set up, clean up, greet people in the parking lot, serve refreshments, help with costumes, help with the animals, serve as an actor, be a reader, or donate cookies. Please indicate where you would like to serve on the Opportunities to Connect and Serve Sheet and place it in the offering plate. Advent Devotionals: The Advent Devotionals this year come to us from A Sanctified Art and are on a table behind the sanctuary. We have copied one per family, but if you would like one for yourself, please contact the office and we will copy one for you. If you would like to contribute $1.00 to help offset our copying costs you may do so by placing cash in the basket that holds the devotionals. Resting in God Dec. 6th 7 pm: This quiet, contemplative time of prayer helps us to disconnect with the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season and connect with the divine presence of God. During this time of guided prayer, participants will relax in a comfortable setting with candlelight and quiet music while scripture passages and prayers are read. After the prayer time, participants can join the pastor in the sanctuary for a time of prayer, anointing, and communion. Advent Prayer Vigil: We will hold our annual Advent prayer vigil December 15th at 6pm through the 16th at 6pm. From 6-10pm on Friday people can pray in the sanctuary. After that you are invited to pray from your homes. If you would like to sign up for a specific prayer time, there will be a sheet on the table behind the sanctuary. Alternative Christmas Cards: Instead of mailing Christmas cards to people in the church, you are invited to leave cards in the church located on the table in the area behind the sanctuary. Cards will be organized by last name before Christmas Eve for pick up by members. If you would like to make a donation to the church for all of or some of what you would have spent in

4 stamps, you may do so by placing your donation in the offering plate. You may also make a small donation to the church and have your name listed in the bulletin with a general Christmas greeting for the congregation. Deadline for all Christmas wishes is December 19th. Please fill out the weekly opportunities with your name and Christmas greeting and hand in in with any donation that you wish to make. If you have questions, please call the church office. Christmas & New Year s Eve Worship Schedule Blue Christmas Worship Service December 21st 6 pm. This service is for anyone who is grieving, sad, lonely, out of sorts, or hurting in any way. It is difficult to be struggling when everyone around you seems to be filled with holiday cheer. This quiet service recognizes our very real, human emotions and helps us connect with the healing presence of God. All are welcome! Christmas Eve Worship Services This year Christmas Eve is on Sunday!! We will have three worship services. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors to join us in the celebration of Jesus birth! WE WILL NOT HAVE A 9:15 SERVICE OR SUNDAY SCHOOL ON DECEMBER 24TH The first service will be at 11 am and will be a traditional service with communion. We will have special music provided by some of our musicians. The second service will take place at 4 pm and is a family service designed with young children in mind. During this interactive service children will be included in the telling of the Christmas story and the children in A.W.E. will present a skit. We will have cake and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, and have battery operated candles. The third service will be at 9pm and is a traditional candlelight service with communion. Our vocal and handbell choirs will present music. Serving on Christmas Eve: On December 24th many people will pass through our doors to come and worship God in celebration of the birth of Jesus. We have the opportunity to provide a warm, Christian greeting and hospitality to friends, neighbors, and strangers on this special day. We need people to serve as greeters, ushers, acolytes, lay readers and communion servers at all three services. If you would be interested in serving, please mark the Opportunities to Connect and Serve sheet and place it in the offering plate or give it to the pastor. You may also contact the pastor directly if you would like to serve. New Year s Eve Service

5 We will have one combined service at 10 am on December 31st. This will be a covenant renewal service with special music provided by some of our musicians.

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