We’re right in the midst of the busy season! My wife Susan and I have gone to some dinner or performance 5 of the last 6 nights. Fortunately, they have all been enjoyable, inspirational, or both!
Last Sunday the MusicMakers program was amazing! Nearly 100 children performed, with ukuleles, dulcimer, drums, bells, chimes and voices. People have spoken to me all week about this program that is clearly impacting our children’s lives…and, in the process, our lives as well! And Sunday evening the Community Chorus Concert once again brought singers from throughout our community together under the direction of our own David Traynham for a great evening of John Rutter music. David steps down as the director after many, many wonderful performances.
This Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent. We move ever closer to the full celebration of the birth of the Christ…but we are not there yet. We have some more waiting to do, so more anticipation, some more preparation. We have a bit more time to “make space” in our lives, in our congregation for the coming One.
This Third Sunday is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday or Joy Sunday. If you’re reading the daily readings from the Advent “Making Space” calendar, you’ve been and will be reading these texts these next few days: Zephaniah—“Rejoice and exult with all your heart…”; Isaiah: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation….Shout aloud and sing for joy…”; Philippians—“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice….” The writers of those texts were all writing during times of distress!
The Luke passage assigned for this Sunday follows on last week’s text on John the Baptist and sounds another theme. Only in Luke’s version of the story does Jesus say, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”
Wilson Strickhausen will be preaching for us, and I’m looking forward to hearing his wisdom and see how he pulls the theme of Joy together with our call to “make space” for those in need.
Sunday afternoon at 4:00 we’ll come back for the Festival of Carols. This is essentially a Christmas music variety show, with all kinds of musicians playing all kinds of instruments and the choir singing to boot. It will be enjoyable, it will be fun, it will be inspirational. And afterwards carolers will go to homes of some of our homebound members.
Next Wednesday evening, December 16, we have the tremendous privilege of presenting David Holt in concert. Most of you know who David is, but, in case you don’t, I’ll describe him as a walking treasury of knowledge and performance of traditional Appalachian music and lore. He was a friend and collaborator with Doc Watson, especially in Doc’s later years. David plays a variety of instruments, and brings with him Josh Goforth, one of the great musicians and ballad singers (I’ve heard him play but not sing) of Madison County. The Wonderful Wednesday dinner line will open at 5:00 and the prayer will be completed by 6:00, so that Wonderful Wednesday diners can make their way to the sanctuary to get seats for the 6:30 performance. We expect a full house.
On Sunday, December 20, we will observe the Fourth and Final Sunday before Christmas, and at 4:00 that afternoon will be the annual Service of Remembrance. This service is especially for those who are grieving loss of loved ones, which is probably most of us! It is a time to remember, to light a candle, to pray. I’ll bring a brief message and there will be comforting music. This is really for everyone who might feel a burden in this season.
It’s a busy time…are you “making space” during the rush and busyness and preparations for what really matters…for Christ, for your loved ones, for those in need?
See you Sunday as we Enjoy the season…love others…make space!