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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Advent day 15, Third Sunday

We had a great 3rd Sunday in Advent. It was also communion Sunday which presented a perfect opportunity to focus on the gifts that God gives us. We emphasized that we are able to come to the Lord's table at HIS invitation. Doug preached a great sermon on how with the coming of Christ all barriers to God have come down and the wide reach of God's amazing love now encompasses us all. Teenagers from our high school youth group shared in the liturgy of the lighting of the 3rd candle and they did such a great job. It made me so thankful for the ways in which they continue to want to be involved in the life of our church. The whole spirit of the morning was great and I felt refreshed by the whole experience. The only sad point was that a key family are moving back to Austria tomorrow. Willi has been playing percussion in our worship band and has made a deep impact. His wife Gerda has been singing in our choir and their 5 year old daughter Naima is just cute and fun to have around. So bidding them farewell today was really hard and emotional. Sometimes you have people who come into your church and ministry who impact everyone. Gerda and Willi have been those kind of people. Deeply loved by all and also deeply loving others. We wish them Godspeed but will miss them terribly.
We ended our evening with the church choirs concert. The Swedish and International choirs sang, some children from the International fellowship sang a couple of songs from the program they performed last week, the Swedish youth choir and children performed Santa Lucia, live candles and all on the Lucia's head. There was brass and percussion and great voices and fun music. We ended the evening by singing O Come All Ye Faithful in both Swedish and English and all in all it was great fun.
I'm tired tonight but in a good way. I feel so thankful for our church and for the opportunity that we have to worship God, to know the depth of His love and grace around the communion table and sing his praises with joy and gratitude.
As we get a bit closer to Christmas, I leave you with words from my prayer for today...

Lord, as the growing light of Christ surrounds us, may we all know in a deep and abiding way that you do counter our despair with hope, our unrest with peace, and our sadness with joy. May we each know the truth of these gifts as we continue to prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming Christ once again. In Jesus’ name we pray these things. Amen.