Pastor's Ponderings

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

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Do you hear what I hear?

One of the most memorable and inspiring parts of the Christmas season is the music we hear. Sure, we have more than enough Christmas background music playing in the stores, elevators and waiting rooms. But the really wonderful music is the kind we get to hear in church, among carolers or in our homes. We hear voices coming together in song, lifting up the songs of Advent waiting (“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” and “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”) as well as the joyful proclamation of Christmas (“O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Go, Tell It on the Mountain”, and “Joy to the World”). This is a time when bells remind us to consider the needs of others. And Christmas carols are some of the few songs that nearly everybody knows by heart (at least the first verse).

Music is a language of the spirit and the heart. It can trigger feelings and remembrances from the past, sometimes pleasant and sometimes not, sometimes welcome and sometimes not. The lighting of a candle or the singing of "Silent Night" on Christmas eve can bring on a flood of recollections, images, feelings, emotions, that connect us with other people and other Christmas celebrations. Some of my favorite memories of Christmas music include hearing a solo cello play a haunting version of “What Child is This?” and the singing of “Angels’ Carol” in the dark with a small choir one year hoping for the lights to come back on during a storm on Christmas eve.

I hope you’ll join us this Sunday at Calvary Church as holiday music takes the central part in our worship at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

Here are the words of the third stanza of “O Holy Night,” (another of my favorites)
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

See you in church,
Pastor Steve

Posted by Rev. Dr. Steve Larsen with

Christmas is an Inviting Time

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Christmas is an Inviting Time

The weeks in December are a wonderful time to invite friends, neighbors, coworkers and family to come and visit the church. The building is decorated in a festive way, the music is particularly special, there is a sense of anticipation and excitement among the people here—everything makes this a wonderful time for guests to see us at our best. Even more important, this is the time when we hear the news that God is coming into our world not just as a baby many years ago, but into our lives today.
Research shows that most people are willing to consider coming to a worship service if they are invited by someone they know. You could be that someone. Seems to me we have something wonderful to offer every Sunday morning. There is no reason to keep it to ourselves.
In addition to the regular Sunday morning worship services, there are also the services on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24.
December 24, Christmas Eve
5:00 p.m. Family Christmas Service
Worship oriented to families with young children. Carols, Scripture and a story for the children. Story- “Michael Mouse”. We will enjoy special music from the children’s choirs, Genesis and Sonshine Choirs

7:00 p.m. A Christmas Service of Scripture and Song
A service based around the carol: “What Child Is This?” and ending in Candlelight. Music from youth choir, Voices of Praise

9:00 and 11:00 p.m. Christmas Candlelight and Communion Service
Sermon: Christmas Presence. Worship ending in Candlelight. Gospel and Cathedral Choirs

December 25 One Service at Calvary UMC at 11:00 AM
Creche Service with the Rev. Harry C. Cole

Here is a prayer you might use as we move through this season of Advent:

Ever present God, you taught us that the night is far spend and the day is at and. Grant that we may ever be found watching for the coming of your Son. Save us from undue love of the world, that we may wait with patient hope for the day of the Lord, and so abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may not be ashamed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Church of Scotland as found in The United Methodist Book of Worship, 1992)

See you in church,
Rev. Steve

Posted by Rev. Dr. Steve Larsen with

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