The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge
Advent 3B 2014
December 14, 2014
Are you ready? It’s the one time of year when people seem to have permission to ask this question. “Are you ready for Christmas?” And I always marvel when I hear people, even before the Thanksgiving holiday, say things like, “Yes, the tree is up, cards are ready to mail, gifts almost wrapped.”
Am I ready for Christmas? Well it depends on what you mean. I will be honest, I am not very good, nor really that interested, in the celebration of a Hallmark Christmas. Heck, I have not even opened up one box of decorations yet. But if you mean– are you ready for Christmas, on a psycho/spiritual level, then I am on board. I may not be prepared for Christmas, but I am ready. I long for a birth. I long for the in-breaking of the kingdom, for a light at the end of a dark tunnel. I long for all who sit in darkness to be present to the coming light.
For many of us, the dawning light of Advent and Christmas is illusive. I know many people who if not dreading the holidays, they at least merely cope with getting through them. Many of us are reminded of painful losses during this time. In our own congregation we have attended many burials this fall. And while those deaths have left several vacancies in our pews, think of the gaps that will be felt this coming holiday in the lives and families of their loved ones. Light for many is a gift longed for but not yet realized.
The church office will be closed Thursday, December 25 through Monday, January 4. Emergencies can be left on the church answering machine as the machine will be checked daily.
On December 31st, New Year’s Eve, at 7:00 p.m. the Arts at St. John’s will present “A Prayer for Peace”, an evening with cellist Eugene Friesen. More information on Friesen can be found online at: www.celloman.com Tickets will be $20 at the door.
On Sunday, January 4 at both services we will hear the “three kings Gospel” and sing accompanying carols. On Tuesday, January 6, at 7:00 p.m. a Eucharist called, “Manifesting Divinity” will be offered. This alternative service for the Feast of the Epiphany will begin in darkness and feature handheld candles.
Young Artist Guild Recital featuring pianist Tayler Hayford on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 for general admission, $15.00/family. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.
The. Rev. Elaine Breckenridge
December 7, 2014
Advent 2B 2014
Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight. Thinking about the word path brought an experience to mind this past week. Right before I moved to Lodi, I went to a doctor’s office for a routine checkup, only to find out that the doctor had re-located the office. Of course I was running on time, which meant I was going to be late trying to get to the new location. But I was only across the street from the new location. Walking would be faster than driving. All I had to do was to descend a little hill to get to the sidewalk and then cross the street. So I set off but soon realized that there was no path on this little hill. Instead I found myself trying to walk through a thick ground cover of juniper bushes. It was not the best plan. But I carried on, slipping, getting filthy and praying that I was not damaging the plants too much. A week later, I again returned to the first clinic for a different appointment. After I parked the car, I noticed a new sign on top of the very hill that I had traversed the week before which read “This is not a path.”
This is not a path. Hmn. I thought to myself, I wish that sign had been there the previous week. I would have repented. That is, I would have turned around and found another way to get to the doctor’s new office.
This is not a path. What a useful sign that is. If only we could get such direct messages about our own faith journeys. Often we seek God’s guidance, looking for direction for our own spiritual paths. As we stand at a fork in the road, it would be helpful to get more direction from on high that at least said, “Hello, there, that is not the path for you.” But often times, we only discover the wrong path because we have actually taken it. At other times, life forces us to take path we would have never chosen for ourselves. And it’s usually not been the easy road, the smooth and straight path. Taking the wrong path either by choice or not can lead one into exile.
Christmas Eve, December 24
5:30 p.m. Pageant & Eucharist
9:45 p.m. Musical Prelude
10:00 p.m. Festival Eucharist
Christmas Day, December 25
10:00 a.m. Carols and Eucharist
First Sunday after Christmas, December 28
10:00 a.m. Baptism and Eucharist
Sunday, January 4
8:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m. Epiphany Sunday Observed
Tuesday, January 6
7:00 p.m. Manifesting Divinity
A Celtic Celebration for Epiphany
Come celebrate the holidays with us under the palm trees at our upcoming concert entitled “A Tropical Christmas!” Performances are December 5th at Central Methodist Church in Stockton and December 6th at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lodi. Both concerts begin at 7:30 pm. Join us for traditional Christmas carols, as well as Christmas music from the Caribbean, West Africa, the Philippines, and tropical locations around the world. You can purchase tickets by calling our office at (209) 951-6494 or you can purchase them online by clicking on this link: http://www.stocktonchorale.org/ Tickets: $20.00 in advance; $25.00 at the door.
The Arts at St. John’s will host a Grammy-Award winning guitarist in a holiday concert on Sunday, December 14, at 3:00 p.m. Grammy-Award winning guitarists Mark Hanson and Doug Smith return with Terry Robb to present a concert of holiday classics on acoustic guitar.
They will play and sing Christmas favorites in ways you’ve never experienced; from “Masters in This Hall” to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” medley and Boogie Woogie Jingle Bells. A Great concert for the whole family. Tickets will be $10 at the door.
When will it be?
It will be held Sunday, December 7th, immediately after coffee hour, following the second service.
Where will it be?
At St John’s church, of course!
How long will it last?
12 noon until 2:30 p.m.
Who is it for?
Everyone!! All ages are encouraged to attend!
What is it all about?
Through stories, songs, gift making projects, and a visit from
Bishop Nicholas himself, we will learn how this beloved saint teaches us
to be generous and giving in our service and love to others.
PLEASE COME AND BRING FRIENDS!
If you would be able to assist us, we could use help in the following areas…
Provide festive finger foods & treats
Help at Craft tables
Please call Kathy Bell , or the church office at 369-3381
if you are able to help us serve.
Thank You!! Kathy Bell