Greta McDonald's blog

The Gift of Choice

Last week I traveled to Massachusetts to attend my uncle's funeral service. He was a giving, thoughtful, faithful person in his long life, and I was grateful both my son and I were able to make the trip.

As expected, as we were buckling in for the flight to begin, the announcer noted that we have many airlines to choose from, and thanked us for choosing theirs.

Now is the time!

On Valentine's Day morning this past week, I played a phone message from Kim Coffing, Director of Community and Faith Relations of ChildServ. ChildServ is that Northern Illinois United Methodist agency we help support with our fifth Sunday special offerings.

It was a message of thanks - to you.


What a week it's been! - cars with mannequin drivers being launched into deep space; yet another budget impasse debate in Congress; people standing up and speaking up to protect the rights and well-being of others; athletes gathering in South Korea from around the globe - and now, on this Friday morning, thick layers of snow covering our part of the world, changing how everything looks, and making us slow down and notice what is right before our eyes.

Souper Bowl of Caring

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, and a lot of people are pretty excited about it.

The National Chicken Council is excited. They project that 1.33 billion chicken wings will be eaten before and during the Big Game.

Pizza restaurants are excited. Super Bowl Sunday is their third biggest day of the year, following only Halloween and New Year's Eve, and over 4,000,000 pizzas are expected to be picked up or delivered from the top three chains alone.

About Last Sunday...

Those of you who were in worship last Sunday know the service had some eventful aspects.

Gifts in Haiti

It was great to get word this week that Maggie Roth had arrived back safely, and inspired, from her mission trip to Haiti, with Watts of Love.  Those of you who were in worship on December 31 were able to "commission" and bless Maggie as she prepared to go on this journey January 2-9.

 We're eager to hear more details about her time in Haiti, but here is her first "report":

Back to Normal

Among my plans for tomorrow is to take down our Christmas tree. Jim and I like to hold on to Christmas decorations in the house as long as possible, but tomorrow is January 6 - Epiphany - and that to us is the day to put things "back to normal."

But, of course, once we've really celebrated Christmas, there is no "normal." If Christmas is a celebration of the presence of Christ in and among our human lives, well, then, every day after is meant to be open to the adventure of following Jesus in new ways, and being guided by the invisible light of his love, extended to us and to all.

Remembering the Gifts

As I have walked through this week after Christmas, I've been struck by how deeply some of the quiet gifts I've witnessed in the church have continued to touch my spirit.

There was the music from last Sunday's morning, afternoon, and evening Christmas Eve services that I find has still been "playing" in my thoughts all week - starting with the beautiful harp music I heard in the early morning empty sanctuary as Julie Spring rehearsed for the first worship service, and ending with the bells ringing in Christmas and "Joy to the World" at the last.

Jesus is born!

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."   Luke 2:7

Later today, I hope to spend some time wrapping gifts. That's one of my favorite pre-Christmas tasks - when I have time to not only to conceal the gift in pretty paper, but also add some creative touch at the top, it makes giving that gift even more joyful.

Go In Peace

Go In PeaceHave you noticed a new addition to our church parking lot? A few weeks ago, signs were quietly installed at the north and the south exits. They don't give the typical kind of instruction you'd expect to find on such a sign - like "slow" or "stop" or "no left turn." Instead, they give a word of encouragement to "Go in Peace."


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