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.

There were the gifts of care I got to witness for a few moments on Monday morning, as some of the Caring Callers team came to church to pick up poinsettias to share with homebound or senior members of the congregation, sharing that gift of appreciation and love as part of their Christmas celebrations.

And today, as we get ready to send out this Friday email from the church office, I am especially thankful for the many, many quiet gifts that have been provided for our church by our Communications Director, Alison Murphy.

Many of you are already aware that Alison is transitioning from her position with our church office to a new role with the Village of Westmont. We will feel her absence so keenly! During her years with us, her expertise and creativity have made many differences - our weekly Friday emails were begun under her care, as were the twice-a-year "Highlights" that come with our giving statements and help us see more clearly how our contributions have been put to use. She has helped our Tower Bell newsletter to be clear and comprehensive and visually delightful. And she created a new Logo for us that gathers up our Mission/Vision/Values statement simply and helpfully - the words  "Living Our Faith," set beside the United Methodist cross and flame.

In addition to these and her many other quiet accomplishments, she has been a thoughtful, wise, and motivated part of our office staff, whose questions and observations have helped us all to see things with a larger perspective.

We will miss her so much - but wish her Godspeed as she uses her creativity and expertise supporting the work of local government, which has been a focus of her professional life in the past. Thank you, Alison!!

This Sunday is New Year's Eve, a time for remembering the many small and large gifts of the past year, and preparing to welcome what is ahead with open arms - and hearts, and minds. At our one, 10:00 a.m. worship service, we will reflect on the story of Simeon in Luke 2:22-40. Simeon was someone who, in seeing the infant Jesus at the Temple, realized he was seeing a new Gift from God that he had been hoping for all his life; and in welcoming that Gift into his life and into the world, Simeon became able to surrender the past to God's love, and welcome the future, whatever it would hold. His life may give us guidance on how we, too, can "Embrace the Future" with faith.

Jim and I wish you a wonder-filled, joyous New Year - and we hope to see you Sunday, December 31, at our one worship service at 10:00 a.m. 

May this prayer of Dag Hammarskjold be ours as we enter 2018:

For all that has been - Thanks.
For all that shall be - Yes.

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