O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

posted Dec 11, 2020, 11:19 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Blessings of Advent peace to you.

It has certainly been an unsettling two weeks here at Coventry House. But, I am happy to report that I tested negative for COVID-19 and Jamie is feeling absolutely fine. Thanks be to God! Once again, we are grateful for all your support, prayers, and food shopping during this challenging time. We feel so blessed by the outpouring of love and care you have shown us.

And speaking of feeling blessed, I received a Holy Spirit gift last evening. We had planned to get our Christmas tree last week but that didn’t happen as we were in quarantine. Since then, Jamie has been released from quarantine, so he went out yesterday and purchased a tree, knowing I really needed Christmas this year and my “baby Jesus time.” It felt odd not to be able to go with him, as selecting a tree is something to which I look forward all year. But well, this is 2020 and nothing is what once was.

He picked what I think is the most perfect tree ever. Not because of its shape or smell or height, but rather, what I found in the tree while we were decorating it — an abandoned bird’s nest perfectly intact and nestled among the branches. 

I immediately thought — Ah, that Holy Spirit, appearing in the form of a bird, yet again. Welcome, Holy Spirit, welcome. 

I think she knew that after all of the inner turmoil of the last two weeks I needed a reminder that no matter what hope, peace, joy, and love are still coming into the world through the birth of a vulnerable and holy baby.

Even in a pandemic. Despite a pandemic. Nothing can stop God’s love coming down to earth. I believe, more than ever, we need that reassurance.

I look forward to welcoming you to worship on this Third Sunday of Advent when we will gather online at 10:15 AM to chat with one another, and then worship together at 10:30 AM via Zoom or on our YouTube channel. As always, our music is sure to bless your soul. Diane Grady is our featured soloist and she will be singing several Advent and Christmas selections. Cindy and Lloyd Reya will light the pink Advent candle of Joy from their home, and I encourage you to light your candle along with them. We will continue our Advent sermon series Longing for More written by Lisa Vanderkamp. I will be preaching from Isaiah 40.9-11 and Luke 12.22-32 and my sermon title is We Worry - Shepherd Lead Us. I’ve attached the bulletin and the Scripture readings to this email for your reference.

Also, please join us tonight at 8 PM on our YouTube channel - MRC: A Fabulous Church of Love for Music Night.  Some eclectic examples of music of the season will be offered to get you in the Christmas spirit, led by Director of Music Judith Daugherty with narration by Diane Grady, Dan Pannebaker, and James Zeller.

Beloved, Jesus will be born. Trust that. Sometimes we just need a small bird’s nest hidden in a Christmas tree to remember that truth.

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish