December 4, 2018

Dear friends,

We are now in the Season of Advent, four weeks which help us to prepare for Christmas. Like me, some of you may be wondering how we got to December so quickly? Didn’t we just finish tax season? The words of my mother echo louder and seem truer each passing year, “Time moves faster as you grow older.”  This sense of time can seem disorienting to some people. Maybe that is why we need this season: to purposely focus our hearts on the truth of Christmas. It is more than a tree with lights, tinsel, and a multitude of presents.

Advent is a time to look to our scriptures for God’s promises of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. This year Advent at our house looks and feels different as my husband and I have made room in our home for a woman and her infant son and we said our final good-byes to my mother. The loss of a vibrant and loving life cannot be explained, it can only be felt, and feelings can be overwhelming. There is joy and there is sorrow. There is also peace, the kind of peace that passes understanding.  It often comes to me when I am looking into the eyes of a child. I don’t just mean the eyes of the infant, but also his mother, a woman who feels warm and safe, at least for now.

All of us have heard about and seen the images of thousands of people seeking asylum less than 30 miles from San Diego. These people have traveled hundreds of miles to escape dangerous conditions in their homeland.  Mothers, fathers, young adults, youth, and children wait in crowded conditions for a chance at a better life. Many people in our church are working to help and care for these people across our border. Christ Ministry Center, one of our partners in faith and ministry, is taking the lead of working with ICE to provide shelter for families with small children (https://www.safeharbors.net). If you would like to help, please contact Christ Ministry Center or the church office.

As I said earlier, this season is more than just hustle and bustle, baking and buying, or packaging and parties, it is about preparing to welcome Emmanuel, God with us. As you read this, and in the days to come, I invite you to take a moment and write your hope, identify where you find peace, offer and accept love, and share joy to the world.

Peace,

Jeri

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This year, St. Mark’s is offering many ways to experience the Season of Advent:

  • Provide baby items for our Children’s Advent Gift Offering to support Birthline
  • Join in the Free Community Pancake Breakfast on Sun., Dec. 9 at 7:45 A.M.
  • Participate in the Advent Family Study on Tuesday nights at 6:00 P.M.
  • Come to the Living Nativity & Fundraising Dinner on Sat., Dec. 15 at 5:30 P.M.
  • Attend any of the Gratitude Studies with Rev. Craig Dec. 17 – 20 at 1 P.M.
  • Join in the contemplative Longest Night Service on Fri., Dec. 21 at 6:30 P.M.
  • Celebrate Christmas Eve Services on Mon., Dec.24 at 5:30 and 8:00 P.M.

For more information on any of these events call the church office at 858.273.1480 or go to our website: www.stmarksumcsd.org