It Don'd on Me

Waiting Continues

We wait. Bigger than the day we wait to put up the tree or waiting to sing certain hymns until Christmas... Waiting is filled with presence. When we practice being present in the moment or being present with others while they wait on news or sitting alongside someone as they grieve or celebrate, that is a re- commitment to follow the one we disciple ourselves after.

Sharing our gifts to families in need, sharing joy with others through music, taking time to visit those who cannot be with our community regularly are all ways that we celebrate the waiting of the coming birth of Christ once again.

When we spend extra time in prayer or devotionals at home and with others, sharing honestly our hopes, joys, losses and concerns we are faithfully, fully practicing Discipleship.

Through worship, devotionals, concerts, caroling, sharing gifts, and our special services like our amazing Cantata Sunday and our longest night service on the 22nd. We hope that you and yours experience multiple ways to wait upon the birth of the Christ Child.

-Bill Jeffreys

Time to Prepare

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Carol and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to our son and daughter-in-law’s home near Center Point, Texas. We were together with all three of our adult children and all three of their loves. Plentiful food, fun, and laughter, deep conversations-- Life-giving time together, while giving thanks to God for these loving hearts shaped by God’s faithfulness and love for us.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, my son Stephen and I spent the whole day installing new laminate flooring in the (due any day now!) baby’s room. Stephen had torn out the carpet that came with the house – ew – and it was time to refresh and renew and make ready for Baby Boy Wilson! Meanwhile Carol and Avery introduced their kitchen and bathroom to the miracles of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.... When Carol and I were finally driving back to Arlington, we both felt grateful that these parents-to-be finally felt ready to receive their newborn into his new home.

Like our parents had done for us, we had the opportunity to help out with some preparations, and that felt so good.

Preparations. A luxury that Mary and Joseph just didn’t have. A hurried trip to Bethlehem, where they found all the inns to be filled up, no vacancy—finally a little space in some compassionate farmer’s animal barn. Pick up the animal droppings, find some kind of bedding? Too late, the baby is coming now!...

Reflecting on Jesus’ birth gives me a deeper appreciation of the brief time that Carol and I had to help our son and his wife prepare, make ready, make room. That’s what this Season of Advent is meant to be for us: time given by God, space provided in worship and devotions—opportunity to clean out some of the old “ew” in our lives, and make preparations for the birth of Christ in our hearts, once more. May God bless us, every one, as we make the time that we need, in our worship and in personal prayer and reflection, to prepare for new birth. Let every heart prepare Him room.

Preparing, with you, Don

Posted by Dr. Don Wilson

Carol's Joys

Admittedly, I only went for the cake. Yep, I donned my long undies, brought a bag of extra warm clothing and some work I knew I wouldn’t look at, and stood in line for the cake.

At the Nothing Bundt Cakes company birthday party a few weeks ago, the first 22 people willing to freeze in line at any franchise would receive a punch card, good for a free bundtlet once a month for an entire year!  Arriving about 2 hours early, I realized I was over the 22 mark but was told sometimes they distribute extras, so I was encouraged to stick it out.

 Suddenly it occurred to me I was freezing with folks who were all about securing a quality product at an incredibly low cost. Hey, they may be interested in our Gardens on the Go program!  The woman behind me immediately asked for the church address. “910 S. Collins,” she spoke into her phone, as I surged with pride. Then she went on to ask more: how many bags would be available, what time to come, how does the garden work, etc.  Upon learning she could not only receive a bag of fresh fruits and veggies for just $5 but help in the garden and learn from the pros, she became downright gleeful. She then turned to explain everything to the women behind her and invited them. “Are you coming to her church tomorrow?” she asked. 

 But then, just as suddenly, her joyful countenance fell. It took me a while to catch on that the final coveted free cakes card #22 had been distributed. We were not among “the chosen frozen.” Indeed, I was only 4 people away from a year’s supply of Nothing Bundt Cakes. Deep depression set in until I remembered I was a Christian and had every reason to remain hopeful.

 The next day I arrived late at Gardens on the Go.  But the lady who stood behind me in line had already toured the garden, eager to learn, eager to volunteer, eager to prepare for all the promise Harvesting Hope affords her as an apartment dweller.  We hugged as long-lost friends, then realized we had no clue as to one other’s names. “Carlotta,” she said.  “Carol,” said I. Almost simultaneously we shared with jovial church members gathered ‘round: “We wanted cake, but the Lord knew we needed fresh veggies and fruit.” 

 Healthy stuff. True fruit.  Relationship fruit.

 In whatever lines we find ourselves throughout this Advent season – trying to remember Thanksgiving comes first, waiting, expecting, hoping - let us “Prepare!” Expectantly, we will end up with much more than we dared hope.  Jesus came for relationship, not birthday cake.