Oh Beautiful Star...
December 9, 2020 “What happens here, doesn’t stay here…”
Dear Church Family,
It happened on March 4, 1226, just before dawn, and it hasn’t happened at the magnitude that will occur 794 years, 9 months and 17 days later, on December 21, 2020, this year’s winter solstice. And I don’t think it is lost on anyone that this is happening in a year that has had its share of rare occurrences.
I am excited about this event – looking forward to it, actually. So much so, that last week, I posted about it on the church’s Facebook page when I first read an article about it in Forbes Magazine.
And last night, NBC shared a story about it, entitled: “A Bright Spot in a Dark Year.” Other news stories call it a “Christmas Miracle.”
The story? Planets Jupiter and Saturn will align so closely in the night sky that they’ll almost appear to collide, at least from our vantage point. The alignment will create such a radiant point of light, it’s befitting its “Christmas Star” moniker.
“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to be to one another,” said Patrick Hartigan, an astronomer at Rice University, according to Forbes.
Technically, Saturn will be 10 au (astronomical units) from Earth, and Jupiter will be 5 au away, but they will appear less than the diameter of a full moon apart.”
We are told in both articles to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon for yourself, make sure you have a clear view to the southwest about 45 minutes after sunset. The planets will be at their closest on December 21, but the “Christmas Star” will be available the entire fourth week of December.
I don’t know about you, but I find this story exhilarating! What a beautiful reminder of God with us, Emmanuel! And it comes exactly when we need it. When we all know too well how hard this year has been on so many. This brilliant light breaks in! Not seen in nearly 800 years and this year, this year? Maybe God knows how much of a reminder we need, “this year, this year, let the day arrive when Christmas comes for everyone, everyone alive.” This light is the light, the reminder we need, on the longest night of the year, the light comes.
So, my prayer becomes a prayer for all those who have become weary in the darkness of a long year of hurt and pain and chaos and loss, that we will know with our very being that there is hope. That the light of this conjunction will remind us, the shepherds in the field, the searching magi, the parents trying to home school, the teachers trying to adjust, the nurses and doctors and nursing home CNAs, no matter who we are or where we are on life’s journey, may it remind us there is and will forever be hope. And that hope, it lies in the birth of the one we prepare to celebrate in this season of Advent.
May the peace that surpasses all understanding be all of ours in this season and always.
In our daily prayers…
You are invited to join your faith family in prayer as we lift up George Mull, who had a successful cardiac procedure this week and is resting at home; Tom Lanks who is in Geisinger Medical Center, Danville; Dale Franquet, in GMC, Danville; Helen Hopple, in Lockhaven Hospital Hospice; Eric Powell, now at home under the care of Hospice; the family of Gino McBryan; Georgie Ritter, with continued surgeries; Greyson Greenawalt, the youngest dialysis patient ever for GMC Danville; his great uncle Fred Greenawalt and all the residents of Watsontown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; the Covert family, Joy Bennett – Fresh Express guest with a broken hip and stroke and many families awaiting test results; and we would ask for continued prayers for the Kurtz family. Our prayers are with each individual and family in which we have been made aware of as well as all the unspoken requests on our hearts. We invite you to join us in prayer for all these as well as take a moment to pray for all our health-care workers and front-line workers. As the season of Advent calls us to actively wait, we pray.
Advent from home… This coming week we will light our third Advent Candle. The time, in ways seems to fly by, yet in other ways as we await the celebration of Jesus birth, the “breaking in” of hope, peace, joy and love it seems like days on end we wait. You are invited to join us, and I hope you will invite others to join us as well as, we consider this week that Jesus was born for such a time as this to break in to our world with “Joy.” Let us together light a candle for, say a prayer for, and actively await the Joy that breaks in on Christmas! #seeu@church 10:30 a.m. Sunday via LIVE Stream.
Deadline Approaching for Gift Drop-off
If you are one of the over 100 volunteers who has adopted a child from the Donald Heiter Center gift drive brought to us by Jen Arnold, you will want to get your gifts to the DHC by this Friday, December 11. Please place your gifts in a bag or box (unwrapped) with just the number you were given for the child on the package and drop them off today, Thursday, or Friday between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the DHC, located at 100 N 5th Street, Lewisburg. Once again, thank you Jen for inviting us all in to help, and thank you to everyone who is helping in any way! #beingcommunity #beingthechurch
Poinsettia Order Deadline – Sunday, December 13
The deadline to order Poinsettias, which will be placed in the Sanctuary in Honor, Memory or Celebration of Friends, Family, Neighbors and Loved Ones from December 20 to December 24, is this Sunday. Orders can be placed using the online form link below (and also available on the church website), or you may call the church office to place your order. The cost is $10 each and the color options are red or white. Online Order Form: https://forms.gle/MUPdJcHKSwx2jHncA
Stay Tuned for the Premier of… “Do Not Be Afraid”
Do not be afraid, no really, don’t be afraid. Preparations have begun for this year’s unique Christmas pageant, “Do Not Be Afraid.” Parts are being practiced and filmed by 27 different actors and actresses, music is being practiced and planned, and soon you will be able to enjoy the pageant with all your Saint Paul’s family, in a unique way, virtually. We thank, Colleen Franciscus and Russ Wynn and others who are working diligently to create a Pageant for us all in this unprecedented time, so stay tuned!
What to do on the longest night of the year?
Since we won’t get to gather together for our Blue Christmas service this year, we are seeking ways to brighten one another’s dark days with warmth and light. Between now and Friday, December 18, I want to invite you to share pictures or videos of your Christmas decorations, lights, and include a greeting if you want. You may take pictures or videos and send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to Saint Paul’s Prayers and Love Page, and we will attempt our hand at video editing to get out a video greeting from your church family on December 21, the longest night. Be creative, have fun, and help us brighten one another’s day (or night).
Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate…(what did you expect?)
Here’s a great Christmas Gift idea for coffee or tea drinkers and chocolate lovers…brought to you by Saint Paul’s Coffee Club… We are taking orders for Fair-Trade Equal Exchange products. All proceeds benefit our Saint Paul’s Mission Fund while all Fair-Trade purchases go to benefit independent farmers. The order form is now online at this link: https://forms.gle/ipP6hADymMd1kSTC6. When you submit and order, we will notify you of a pick-up date and time as we are following safe distancing practices and complying with all state and local regulations. Orders may also be placed by calling the church office.
Products are: Mind, Body and Soul Ground Coffee, Regular, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Colombian Whole Bean Coffee, Regular, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Decaf, Ground, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Decaf, Whole Bean, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Fellowship Blend, Regular, 16 ounce, $12 per bag; Fellowship Blend, Decaf, 16 ounce, $12 per bag; French Roast K-Cups, Regular, 12 pods per box, $10 per box; Unwind K-Cups, Decaf, 12 pods per box, $10 per box; Black Tea, 20 bags per box $5 per box; Decaf English Breakfast Tea, 20 bags per box, $5 per box; Very Dark Chocolate (71%), $4 per bar; Milk Chocolate (43%), $4 per bar.
2021 is on the way…
While we already know 2021 will begin a little, ok a lot, differently than in years past, we also know we can’t and hopefully won’t ever stop, being the church! There are neighbors to help, there is music to be made (and practiced), there are journey’s to be traveled, and as we enter 2021, may we always remember we do it all together as one big faith family, there is something for everyone! So, as we begin thinking of ways we can once again be together and be the church in old and new ways alike, I wanted to begin to share a few options for 2021 with you…
Home Brew Wednesdays… Coming Wednesday, January 12, and beginning each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., grab your favorite beverage and join us via Zoom! We will gather for our theological book discussion, share a few laughs, pray together and all from the comfort of your home. Add us to your Wednesday evening calendar! What a great way to spend the winter weeks together! The new book will be announced next week, so you may prepare.
Planning your family vacations for 2021? Watch this space for an announcement next week of something you will want to reserve some time for, coming in the Summer of 2021! Exciting news is on the way for you and your Saint Paul’s family!
This week @ Saint Paul’s:
Wed., Dec. 9 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church office open
Thur. Dec. 10 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church office open
2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Fresh Express
Fri., Dec. 11 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church office open
Sat., Dec. 12 Happy Birthday Pat Korizno
Sun., Dec. 13 Happy Birthday Angie Bird
10:30 a.m. Worship LIVE (https://tinyurl.com/ran9suv ) / or
Mon., Dec. 14 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church Office open
10:30 a.m. Monday Morning Preacher Bible Study
Tue., Dec. 15 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church office open
Consistory Meeting 6:30 p.m. via Zoom
Christian Education (click on Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433)
· Sundays with Dave and Friends – 9:15 weekly (a Bible Study on Revelation)
· Monday Morning Preacher – 10:30 a. m. weekly (Let’s talk about Sunday’s text)
· Wednesday Musings and Theology – 6:30 p.m. weekly (Beginning again, January 12)
· Non-Zoom daily devotions with “Faithful Families”
What happens here doesn’t stay here (ways to connect in the community):
· Fresh Express (2nd & 4th Thursdays each month)
· Painting, Cleaning and Organizing at the Church
· Pantry Remodeling at the church
· Equal Exchange Coffee Sale
· CARE team Goodies and Meals
Reach out to learn more about these and many other opportunities at the church!