God’s Promise of Joy

December 9, 2022

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope you are well. It has been good to see many of you in person the last couple of weeks in worship, and I hope you are planning to join us this Sunday as we continue our series entitled “Deck the Halls!” This week we will light the third candle on our advent wreath and consider God’s promise of joy in this season. The hymns this week promise to warm your soul: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, The First Noel, and O Little Town of Bethlehem. Sunday’s anthem by the Chancel Choir is See Amid the Winter’s Snow and features the line: “As we watched at dead of night, low, we saw a wondrous light; angels, singing ‘Peace on earth,’ told us of a Savior’s birth.” We will read the story from Luke’s Gospel about Mary’s visit with her relative Elizabeth and her song of joy in anticipation of the birth of Jesus into our world. Joy certainly comes in unexpected ways and through unexpected people and places. Do you need a little joy in your life this week? Then join us Sunday as we look for the light of Christ in our midst.

Have you made it to one of our special evening services the last two Sundays? A couple of weeks ago, the children led us in “The Great Tree Lighting” service, and last Sunday we enjoyed the wonderful talents of some of our church’s outstanding musicians in the “Carols by Candlelight” service. I am grateful to all who had a hand in planning these meaningful times of worship. They have been good for my soul. Let me remind you of the upcoming special services set for this season:

Many Moods of Christmas – this concert, in its 33rd year, is set for Sunday at 7:00 pm in the sanctuary. The Chancel Choir, accompanied by members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Georgia Boy Choir, will offer a concert that has become an Atlanta tradition for the season. In recent years, I have met a great many people from other parts of the state who make the trip into the city just for this concert. I encourage you to invite your friends to join us for an evening of beautiful Christmas music followed by a reception hosted by Peachtree Road UMC’s “Friends of Music.” This is a free concert, but you do need a ticket, and those are available online.

Longest Night Service – for many, the holidays can be a difficult time. Our Longest Night Service, set for Sunday, December 18, at 5:30 pm in the Moore Chapel, is designed to help participants find comfort in the midst of grief. Our associate minister Rev. Darren Hensley will offer a message of hope, and I invite you to join us for this meaningful service. 

Christmas Eve – there is nothing like Christmas Eve at Peachtree Road UMC! The sight of worshipers filling our beautiful sanctuary, children in their costumes leading us in a Christmas pageant, and lighted candles piercing the darkness giving us hope are just a few of the lasting images that come to my mind. You are invited to experience the glory of Christmas Eve at Peachtree Road UMC at 5 scheduled services:
Noon – First Communion of Christmas and Candlelight
4:00 pm – Children’s Pageant and Candlelight
6:00 pm – Children’s Pageant and Candlelight
8:00 pm – Lessons and Carols and Candlelight
10:30 pm – Festival Worship with Eucharist and Candlelight
I also encourage you to consider worshiping with us on Christmas Day, (Sunday, December 25) at 11:15 am with Rev. Josh Miles preaching. There will only be one service on this day, and you are invited to come casually dressed for this meaningful time of worship. 
If you cannot join us in person for one of the services, please know that you may join us online.

Now, let me offer some information about several giving opportunities: 

Christmas Eve Offering – once again, this year’s special offering on Christmas Eve will be used to purchase water filters for those living in the Njoro region of Kenya. One $50 water filter can provide clean water to a family for up to 10 years. Please help us give the gift of hope as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. You may give now or purchase a water filter gift card through the Dogwood Gift Shop.

Year End Giving – in spite of the challenges of the last year, we are optimistic that we will be able to cover all our projected expenses. However, in order to do that, we need to finish well. Please do your best to fulfill your commitment to the operating budget and consider giving an extra gift in this season. Thank you for your help! You may give to fulfill your pledge online.

Commit to the 2023 church budget — if you have not yet turned in a commitment card to support next year’s budget, we need to hear from you. Your generosity and commitment honor God and make the church’s ministry possible. All of our worship services, discipleship opportunities, and care for one another and the needs of our community happen because of the gifts you give. You may make your commitment through the church app or website. We also have a gift for all who make a commitment as a token of our appreciation for your support. We are delivering those this week to your home and also have them here at the church for those who live in high rises and gated communities. Again, thank you for your commitment to Peachtree Road UMC.

Finally, I need your help to reach out to our shut-in members during this season. We are looking for about 45 volunteers who will take the name of one of our shut-ins and reach out to them prior to Christmas with a card, a phone call, or even a visit to let them know their church remembers them and cares for them. If you can help us, please contact Rev. Julie Wright to let her know (juliew@prumc.org). Thank you for your help. I look forward to worshiping with you and serving with you in this holy season!

Grace and peace,

Bill