It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Andy Williams’s timeless words ring through the air this time of year. Repeatedly. Because, ready or not, it is time to prepare ourselves for the arrival of the Christ-child once again.

The church invites us into a different method of preparation, even as we all make ourselves dizzy baking and wrapping and writing and everything else for the rest of the world. We are asked to slow our frenzy in order that we might prepare our hearts – as the classic hymn says, cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. And we do this in two ways.

The first way is to pray. However, not only to pray with our eyes closed and heads cast low. The great mystics would remind us that prayer is meant to be enacted. As our hearts become more aligned with God’s purposes for our lives, our actions will more tangibly reflect God’s work in the world. In other words, as we pray with our words, we should also pray with our actions.

This season, FPCH is offering three key opportunities to do this. First, we are selling poinsettias and a quarter of each plant’s sale will go to support Presbyterian Disaster Relief as they work in communities that are recovering from all the natural disasters this year has seen. The remainder will support our local Warner’s Florist.

Second, on Christmas Eve we will take up the annual Christmas Joy Offering, which goes to support historic Presbyterian Schools of Color and to support the Clergy & Missionary Emergency Relief fund.

The third opportunity is our participation in ARW’s annual Christmas4Kids Program. We began our year adopting the same number of children as last year, which was a higher number than ever before. However, as we have continued on, more and more of you have come forward still wanting to adopt. Several families have taken not only one or two tags, but two or three entire children. In the end, we have adopted a record eighteen children. If that is not prayer enacted to welcome the Christ-child, I am not sure what is.

In addition to preparing our hearts through prayer, enacted and otherwise, we should also prepare our hearts by watching for God’s wonders. Wonders like how many of our members have come forward to adopt children with Christmas gifts, of course. But also those incredible marvels that come directly from God’s own Self – even if they appear through those around us.

Advent and Christmastide are the seasons of miracles. Some are small. Some are awe-inspiringly large. You never know when you will find one. This is the time that is wonder-full. So prepare your hearts. Lift up your heads. Our God is drawing near.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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