December 15, 2023

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. Our theme for this season of Advent has been “Light Shines in the Darkness.” Over the last few weeks, we have been considering how our faith sustains us in the difficult days of life. We learned from the shepherds that, when you realize God’s grace is poured out upon you, your fears begin to subside, you no longer feel paralyzed, and you can begin to move forward with a sense of peace and purpose. That is what we discover in this season. We will bring this series to a close on Sunday with an emphasis upon experiencing joy even in the midst of a weary season of life. You certainly will not want to miss the music for this week:

  • The congregational hymns will be three very familiar carols: Hark! The Herald Angels SingGood Christian Friends, Rejoice, and Angels We Have Heard on High
  • The Doxology Youth Choir will offer a traditional arrangement of Charles Wesley’s hymn Walk in the Light
  • The Chancel Choir will present Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day accompanied by percussionist Michael Cebulski

You will notice a new banner hanging in the sanctuary this week – the Mary and Child banner. It was commissioned by an anonymous donor and created by Georgia artist Jewell Dabbs to honor the leadership of females past and present in service to Peachtree Road UMC. We are privileged to receive this wonderful gift, and it will lead our Christmas Eve processions next week. 

If you cannot make it in person (8:45 am, 10:00 am, 11:15 am), then join us online for the livestream of those services through our website here

Let me make you aware of two opportunities for the coming days:

  • Many Moods of Christmas – Sunday, December 17, at 7:30 pm in the sanctuary. The Chancel Choir, soloists, and orchestra will present our Christmas classic featuring traditional Christmas hymns as well as new arrangements of familiar carols. This year’s program will feature one of our favorite anthems, Glenn Rudolph’s The Dream Isaiah Saw, the premiere of the full orchestration of Randall Stroop’s Hodie, and Robert Shaw’s Many Moods Suite III and IV. A reception will follow in Grace Hall. Tickets are complimentary but may run out, so reserve your seat online here, at the Dogwood Shop, or in the church office.
  • Longest Night Service – for many, the holidays can be a difficult time. Our Longest Night Service, set for Thursday, December 21, at 7:00 pm in the Moore Chapel, is designed to help participants find comfort in the midst of grief. Rev. Jamie Jenkins will offer a message of hope.

Of course, Christmas Eve is just a little over a week away. What makes this day so special? Some may say it’s the children, dressed as angels, shepherds, sheep, and other stable animals, singing “Away in a Manger.” Others point to that moment when we light the Christ Candle, signifying the presence of our God with us. And still others assert that it is the passing of the light in a dark sanctuary during the singing of “Silent Night” and the sight of lifted candles as we affirm together “He rules the world!” And the reality is that it’s all of these. Christmas Eve is the best day of the year!  

I remind you that we will be offering five services in our sanctuary on Christmas Eve:

11:15 am – Candlelight Service with Holy Communion

4:00 pm – Family Candlelight Service and Christmas Pageant 

6:00 pm.– Family Candlelight Service and Christmas Pageant

8:00 pm – Festival of Lessons and Carols with Candlelighting

10:30 pm – Festival Choral Eucharist with Candlelighting

Once again, this year’s special Christmas Eve Offering will be used to buy water filters for families living in Kenya. For each $50 donation, we provide a family in Kenya with a water filter that will last 10 years. Since we began this effort in 2015, we have seen a 90% increase in wellness and prosperity in entire communities. Your giving is transforming lives! I hope you will give generously this Christmas and help provide the gift of good health to thousands of families in that region. 

Speaking of giving, thank you for your faithfulness throughout the year. Your giving has made a difference this year at Peachtree Road UMC. I do encourage you to help us finish the year well. Wendie and I fulfilled our pledge for the year just this past week. If everyone fulfills his or her commitment to the church by year-end, we will meet our budget. Some of you may be planning to make an extra contribution to the church this year, and I encourage you to mark it for the operating budget. For your convenience, you may make your gift online here. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Finally, I am grateful to all who have made a commitment to the church’s financial campaign to support the operating budget for 2024. If you have not made your commitment yet, please take the time to do that this weekend. The most convenient way is to pledge or establish a recurring gift online through the church app or website here. Persons from the Finance Committee will be reaching out and sending reminders to those from whom we have yet to hear in the coming days. Please know that every commitment is important and helps our ministries of worship, nurture, outreach, and witness go forward. Thank you for your faithfulness.

I look forward to seeing you in worship this week as we celebrate God’s presence in our midst. 

Grace and peace,