May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
It is hard to believe that we are only 10 days away from Christmas Eve! I don't know about you, but for me the past several weeks (actually, make that the past couple of months) have just flown by. I know that snow isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I was glad to see a bit of snow last night and this morning to make things look a bit more festive... at least to my Canadian sensibilities!
As I move through the season of Advent, it is usually right about now that my brain and my heart start making the switch from Advent to Christmas. We had the Westfield United Church Choir concert on Sunday evening (and thank you, all, for your donations to the Benevolent fund that night - I'll have an updated total for you soon, but it makes my heart smile to think of how many families are going to be helped because of it); tonight is the UCW Christmas Communion Service (7pm at Westfield United); and I've been working on our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.
Our Advent period of waiting is almost over - Jesus is about to be born and the world will never be the same again.
I've been pondering the mystery of Christmas - the mystery of God's Word - the same Word that spoke creation in to being - God's eternal and loving Word becoming human flesh. And not just human flesh, but a vulnerable infant who was totally dependent on his mother. The juxtaposition of the awesome holiness and other-ness of God together with the intimacy and vulnerability and know-ability of God takes my breath away.
In these last days before Christmas, we still have a lot of things going on around our churches!
This Sunday will be the Fourth Sunday of Advent - worship will be at 9:15 at Summerville and at 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. We will be lighting the 4th Advent Candle - the candle for joy - and our "visitor" this week will be Bathsheba who will share her story with us and offer a blessing of joy to the baby Jesus. (Most sermons don't come with a Content Warning, but I did want to mention that, in case you aren't familiar with her story, Bathsheba's story includes rape and infant loss. The scripture passage has been carefully selected to not include either of these directly, and her reflection isn't going to go into any detail about either, but they are both part of Bathsheba's story, and if either of these topics would be triggering for you, you have full permission to sit this week out.)
This Sunday is also going to include Confirmation at both churches, as we welcome new members into our church families!
Sunday evening will be our Youth Connection Christmas Party at Mary Kennedy-Fulton's house - all youth in Middle and High School are welcome to attend! (You can contact Ken at email@example.com with any questions or for more details.)
Monday evening, December 19, will be our Christmas Carols around the Bonfire at Summerville United Church (1891 NB-845), followed by hot chocolate and goodies. We started doing this in 2020 when we weren't able to sing inside - this was the only way we could sing Christmas carols together - and it was so beautiful that we have continued. Dress for the weather as we will be outside; and since there are no streetlights at Summerville (only the light of the fire), you may want to bring a flashlight or headlamp to help you see the words to the songs.
Next Thursday, December 22, is our Blue Christmas Service, held this year at Westfield United Church at 7pm. This is a quiet, reflective service - a space where we can admit that this isn't always "the most wonderful time of the year" and we aren't all able to have a "holly jolly Christmas." But even as we acknowledge the sadness or anxiety or loneliness or grief that we might be carrying, we also look for hope in the Christmas message. (And as an added bonus, because we are at Westfield this year, the Westfield Choir will be singing at this service.)
Finally, because it is only 10 days away, a reminder of our Christmas Eve Services - 3pm at Summerville; 5pm at Long Reach; and 7pm at Westifled. We will only have one service on Sunday December 25 - 10am at Westfield - everyone is invited to join together as we celebrate the birth of Jesus together as a Pastoral Charge.
I also have a message for Westfielders from Judy Sheaves - thank you for all of your donations for our Christmas families - we have now met our commitment to support 10 families for a total of 31 people! There was $20 extra donated above and beyond what was required, so she is going to pass it along to the foodbank (and if any extra comes in this week, it will go to the foodbank as well).
And I think that is it for announcements! (I will send out a brief mid-week message next week, but then there won't be one the week between Christmas and New Year's.)
For a closing thought... I think that I shared this song with you last year but it is so beautiful that I want to share it again! This is a haunting arrangement of an old carol, The Wexford Carol, performed by Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma - you can listen by clicking here.
Blessings to you and yours, today and always!
Rev. Kate Jones Two Rivers Pastoral Charge (506) 757-2201 (office) (506) 343-1307 (mobile) www.tworiverspastoralcharge.com Pronouns: she/her/hers "Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "You must love your neighbour as you love yourself."