Blue Mound UMC December 2022
The Meaning of Christmas
Across a white December night,
Each home is filled with candle light.
The moon shines brightly in a golden sky.
Stars are twinkling way up high.
The cool, still air, a glistening frost,
Smoking chimneys on white rooftops.
The Christmas tree, the mistletoe,
Christmas carols, our loved ones at home.
Christmas is a time for merriment and cheer.
It’s also a time to thank God we’re here.
So when we wake on a bright Christmas morn,
Remember the reason we celebrate.
It’s the day our Savior was born.
What Is Sin?
What is sin? Sin is the violation of God’s will. Human beings cannot help but think, act, and speak in ways that violate God’s will – until, that is, God goes to work on them, changing them from the inside out.
In our normal state, we don’t desire God. Rather, we love and desire everything but God, as if these other things were God.
If we look around the world, we see violations of God’s will everywhere. On a small scale, we might see this in gossip at work, in kids becoming targets of bullies, in lies between husbands and wives, in petty theft, or in sexual promiscuity. On a grand scale, we see such problems as global poverty, genocide, and racial hatred. There are, moreover, both sins of commission and sins of omission. When we actively engage in sinful behavior or social structures, our sin is one of commission. But simply standing by while injustice happens, doing nothing in the face of evil when we have the capacity to challenge it, is a sin of omission. We may not have done anything wrong, but we failed to do anything right. Sin is all around us all the time.
It is helpful for us as people of faith to be aware of the human propensity to sin. On the one hand, we may know the right thing to do. We may wish to do the right thing as well. At the same time, however, we may wish to do something that we should not, something that is at cross purposes with God’s will. In James 1:8, James calls this being double-minded. This term refers to competing impulses within us. Christians have long talked about the temptation to sin, the desire that is in us to think, act, and speak in ways that God does not will for us. It is simply a part of the human condition that at times we will want to think, speak, and do things that God does not wish. We should expect this to happen, and when it does, God allows us to choose the right way or the wrong way to live. When we choose the wrong way, however, we should not expect to find lasting happiness. Only in God can we find lasting happiness and true fulfillment.
We do well to recognize that we, as people, are not complete on our own, and that we need God to help us live well and find true happiness. Only in God can we truly find fulfillment, and when we try to find it in other things, such as money, clothing, sex, food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, sports, or any other of the many, many things we use to distract ourselves, we will fail. We are setting up idols where God should be. This way of doing things is bound to lead to a continued sense of emptiness and sorrow, and the more we continue on this path, the more likely we are to commit sin after sin, never properly honoring God as we should.
Only God can give us true happiness. Yes, things can give us pleasure, and there is nothing wrong with this, but things cannot bring us lasting and true happiness. As Christians, we believe God is the source of all good gifts. God is the source of all true happiness. All that we own belongs to God. Therefore, we must be mindful at all times that our lives, and everything in them, are God’s. God loves us, and we belong to God. When we begin to use the things or people in our lives selfishly, we are misusing the freedom that God has given us, and we commit sin.
Next month we’ll begin to look a little deeper at sin.
I pray that you may come to understand and believe more and more with each passing day, just how special and loved by God you are!
Peace be with you,
The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the church year for Christians.
During Advent, we prepare for and anticipate the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for and need of forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward to anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.
Although we are accustomed to celebrating Christmas on a single day, in both Christian tradition and on the church calendar, the Christmas season lasts from sundown on Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) through Epiphany of the Lord (Jan. 6). This is sometimes referred to as “the 12 days of Christmas.”
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. In 2022, Christmas falls on a Sunday and Christmas Eve on Saturday night. Thus, in 2022 Advent begins Sunday, November 27, and ends at sundown on Saturday, Dec. 24, three weeks plus a portion of an additional day. If Christmas comes on a Sunday, Advent will begin on Nov. 27 and last four full weeks.
The color for Advent has traditionally been purple, although some churches have adopted blue. In practice, however, as churches increasingly incorporate the symbols and decorations of Christmas during Advent, more and more red, green and gold are appearing. The United Methodist Book of Worship upholds the traditional color of purple for Advent, signifying penitence and royalty, but also allows blue, the color of hope.”
*From United Methodist Church Website/Resources/Advent
12 Jim Bridges
16 Theresa Spurgeon
18 Vivienne Haisler
25 Gayla Ziegel
30 Alyse Hokamp
16 Gayland and Beth Fleming
14 Harley and Stephanie Hutson
19 Brenda and Steve Minnis
23 Jerry and Debbie Martin
Remember to Celebrate the Birth of Our Savior.
04 Holy Communion
Laity Sunday – Hanging of the Green
11 Second Sunday Lunch, Noon, Christmas Cheer Baskets
21 Winter Begins
24 Christmas Eve Service and Family Game Night
25 Sunday Worship – Christmas Day
31 New Year’s Eve Service and Games 6-9 p.m.
BLUE MOUND UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Denton, TX 76207-1537 (940) 382-0825
Midway between Denton and Sanger at Exit 473
Sunday School: 9:30 am, Sunday Worship: 10:45 am
Linda Boyer, Newsletter Editor
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