December is upon us, and with it our annual journey towards Christmas. I am fond of the scriptures we find in this season of the church year: stories of prophets emerging from deserts and wilderness, people on the margins dreaming dreams and seeing visions, family members sharing strange yet good news and blessings with one another.

I am also fond of the traditions of the church in this season. By the time you receive this newsletter, I expect we will have already cheered on our children and youth in their program and enjoyed our children’s Advent fellowship event and we will be looking forward to our combined choir Cantata. Our narthex will be full of opportunities for giving this season, with a giving tree for CEDARS; a missions market benefiting four different service organizations; and of course our own South Gate mugs.

In addition to the scriptures of the season and the traditions of music and giving, the Christmas season is also a time of year with a tradition of inviting friends, family and neighbors to join us for worship. This year we will be mailing a postcard invitation to neighbors in a radius around the church, with extra cards available at church for you to give or mail to anyone you would like. I hope you will join me in welcoming any and all who join us for worship – it takes courage to return to church or to visit the first time, and a friendly greeting goes a long way to ease that first visit and help people feel welcome.

Finally – thinking about planning for success in a year when both Christmas Day and New Years Day are on a Sunday… We’ve decided to have one service on each of those Sundays, at 11:00 a.m. I’ll be there, and I look forward to seeing you, too!

Grace and Peace to you this Advent season.

Rev. Stephanie