The Presence of Christ on Our Midst

December 3, 2021

Dear Peachtree Road Family,

I hope this note finds you well. Advent has begun and I hope you are experiencing the joy of this season. We made a great start last Sunday morning as we remembered that this is a time to be fully awake to the presence of Christ in our midst, and then on Sunday evening, our children led us in the Great Tree Lighting Service. It was so good to be together in the sanctuary and to celebrate this season of joy. We have begun decorating our home for Christmas, and that always includes placing a book entitled “The Little Book of Christmas Joys.” It offers 432 suggestions of things to do to make this “the best Christmas ever.” For example, here are the first 8 suggestions:

  • Be the first to wish everyone you meet a Merry Christmas
  • Buy a pair of red flannel pajamas that you wear only on Christmas Eve
  • Take the family to see a small-town Christmas parade
  • Don’t count calories from December 15 through January 2
  • Never select a Christmas tree after dark
  • Mend a broken relationship with a friend or relative during the holidays
  • Take a basket of Christmas goodies to a notoriously grumpy neighbor
  • Be nice to the sales personnel. They’re often wearier than you are.
I would like to add one suggestion to that list: Attend special worship services at Peachtree Road UMC! After all, nothing will put you in the spirit of the season quicker than participating in one of our December services.
This Sunday evening you and your family are invited to join us in the Moore Chapel at 5:30 pm for “Carols by Candlelight.” This lovely service will offer heart-warming music in the intimacy of the chapel. At the close of the service, worshipers will process with lighted candles to the sanctuary, where we will sing our favorite Christmas carols by candlelight. Come celebrate the truth this Sunday evening that the light of Christ shines in our dark world, and the darkness does not overcome it.

Speaking of light shining in the darkness, I remind you that this weekend marks the beginning of “Christmas Kindness” week here at Peachtree Road. In memory of our former senior minister Don Harp, this year’s community outreach event has been renamed “Harp’s Christmas Kindness.” Once again, our church is offering an opportunity for hundreds of families who are in need to come to Peachtree Road to “shop” for winter coats, small appliances, and children’s toys for Christmas. This ministry empowers families to provide for their needs and to discover the hope, peace, love, and joy of this season. I want to express my gratitude to Beth Spencer, our director of local outreach, and all who are volunteering their time, offering their prayerful support, or contributing generously to make this ministry a reality. If you would like to offer a financial gift to support Christmas Kindness, it is not too late. Your generosity toward helping others in this season is transformational.

In addition, please remember that the church’s gift shop, The Dogwood, is now open seven days a week during the holiday season. All proceeds benefit global missions and make a difference in those ministries with whom we partner in Belize, Guatemala, the country of Georgia, and Kenya. Please keep The Dogwood Gift Shop in mind when you are doing your Christmas shopping.

The Finance Committee met on Wednesday evening of this week, and the good news is that through November we continue to be “on track” in our projections to finish the year with a balanced budget. The challenge is that we generally receive a significant portion of our total giving for the year in the month of December. Thank you for your faithfulness throughout the year. Your giving has made a difference in these uncertain days of the pandemic. I do encourage you to help us finish the year well. If everyone fulfills his or her pledge 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 convenience, you may make your gift online here. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Finally, let me thank those who have made a commitment to the church’s “Blessed” financial campaign. I am grateful for your faithfulness and support of the church operating budget for 2022. If you have not made your commitment yet, please take the time to do that this weekend. The most convenient way to pledge or make a recurring gift may be online through the church app or website. Persons from the Finance Committee will be making phone calls 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 am grateful for you and look forward to seeing you Sunday as we worship Christ who is the Prince of Peace.

Grace and peace,

Bill

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