Christmas Day, 2021

•December 25, 2021 • Leave a Comment

John 1:1-5, 9, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.

This true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us . . . 

Worship will be on Sunday, December 26, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.

Christmas Eve, 2021

•December 23, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Luke 2:1-20

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered.
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.  He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Advent Devotional – December 23, 2021

•December 23, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Today’s devotional  is from Luke 1, and is Mary’s song of praise. (Luke 1:46-52 (NRSV)

Mary’s Song of Praise

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 

who has looked with favor on the lowliness of this servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

    and holy is God’s name.

Whose mercy is for those who fear God

from generation to generation.

Who has shown strength, 

who has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

Who has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

 and lifted up the lowly;

Who has filled the hungry with good things,

and sent the rich away empty.

Who has helped God’s servant Israel,

in remembrance of mercy,

according to the promise made to our ancestors,

    to Sarah, to Abraham and to their descendants forever.”

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 22, 2021

•December 22, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Today is when the universe begins to make its journey toward more light.  In our part of the world, in Oklahoma City, the sun rose on December 21 at 7:37 a.m. and the sun set at 5:22 p.m.  On December 22, the sunrise will be just a few seconds earlier, and the sunset will be just a few seconds later.  On Thursday, December 23, the times will be 7:38 a.m. and 5:23 p.m.  On Christmas Eve, a few more seconds will be added to the daylight times.  

This rhythm has been observed from as long as animals, plants, and humans have existed.  In earlier times, they paid more attention to this change.  In our culture, we have created artificial light which, while incredibly convenient, sometimes masks our ability to stay in tune with the universe around us.  

Today, give thanks for more light!  Give thanks for this incredible process which lets plants and animals and humans begin to understand our world.  Understanding that rhythm can make a great deal of difference in also understanding our bodies, our moods, and the behaviors of others.  Understanding that rhythm lets us focus on the times when the universe, like humanity, inches ever so slowly in a new direction.  

Today there is more light than yesterday.  Celebrate! Enjoy!  

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.” – John 1:5

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 21, 2021

•December 21, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Every congregation has certain traditions which surround Advent and Christmas.  It doesn’t matter whether a church is large or small, rural or urban.  And we find a great deal of comfort in these traditions. 

It might be a particular nativity, as it is at Mayfair Heights, or new lovely lights hanging from the ceiling as grace the sanctuary of Mayfair Heights and Mosaic this year.  It might be a particular service, or particular people who like to light the candles.  

It happens in families as well.  Ornaments which have been around for decades.  Or holiday dishes according to someone’s favorite recipe. Maybe it is putting out fudge on Granny’s old candy dish.  

This year, give thanks for all the traditions which feed us.  May they give life to our days and to our families.  May they nurture our spirits, and remind us of loving times and loving people.  

If you don’t have many loving people in your family, then make a commitment to be one.  Be a safe person, one others can trust.  Make yourself available for others to talk.  And then listen, listen with all your heart and love.  

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 20, 2021

•December 20, 2021 • Leave a Comment

As we look toward Christmas this week, I invite you to take time for yourself.  Take some time for silence, take some time for listening to music, take some time to watch a Christmas movie. 

Sometimes we keep up the frenzy and it makes it very hard to enjoy.  If you are putting together toys, use that time to be grateful for your children our your grandchildren.  If you are baking cookies, or putting together candy for your family, take a moment and be grateful for all who will enjoy that delicacy.  

Read the narrative in Scripture of the preparation for and the circumstances of Jesus’ birth in Chapters 1 & 2 of the Gospel of Luke.  Consider all who are in difficult circumstances at this time of the year.  Help anyone you can, and especially consider contributing to the Christmas Eve offering.  Both Mayfair Heights’ and Mosaic’s offerings are going to help with assisting refugee families who have arrived and will still be arriving from Afghanistan. 

Help the Curbside Chronicle folks in the green aprons on the street corners.  If you are so inclined, buy some food for others who stand on the corner and ask for assistance.  Give them money if you wish.  This is a time for extending great love.  

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 18, 2021

•December 18, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Nancy Harmon from Cherokee First United Methodist Church writes one more devotional for us this week. 

The Escape to Egypt

By Nancy Harmon

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.  “Get up.” He said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”  So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.  And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”  Matthew 2:13-15 (New International Version)

Joseph had a dream in which an angel told him to get up and take Jesus and Mary to Egypt.  He did exactly that.  He didn’t wait until morning.  Picture him waking Mary in the night and saying, “Come on!  We must leave at once!”

They grab their clothes, valuables, and as much food as they can pack quickly.  While Mary gets the baby ready, Joseph is getting the donkey.  They have accomplished this within fifteen minutes.

Now they are on their way to Egypt, a land where they have never been.  They know the general direction to go.  They travel by night and hide and rest during the day.  The journey is at least 200 miles.  It takes them around two weeks allowing for the Sabbath.  Then they are in a strange country where they have to make their home for the unforeseeable future.

They trusted God in all this and, of course their trust does not go unrewarded.

Prayer:  Our Heavenly Father, Help us to trust you as Joseph and Mary trusted you.  Help us to follow your leading without question.  Amen.

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 17, 2021

•December 17, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Today’s Advent Devotional is written by Nancy Harmon, from Cherokee First United Methodist Church.  

God Watches Over Us

By Nancy Harmon

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth.  Psalm 33: 13-14 (New International Version)

“The snow! The snow! It’s hitting the windshield!” My son, Dusty, yelled as he woke up.  He had been sleeping on the couch at Grandma’s house in North Dakota.  We were getting ready to go back home to Oklahoma that morning.  I thought maybe Dusty’s dream was prophetic – it was snowing – but I didn’t think too much about it.  My husband, Lonnie, was an excellent driver on snow and ice.  He had learned to drive in North Dakota – and he was a truck driver.

About two hours into the trip home, we were driving along a two lane highway.  The snow was so deep you couldn’t tell where the road was, except by the signs and the tops of the fence posts way out from the wide ditches.  When suddenly we met a semi that was taking his half out of the middle, and Lonnie had no choice but to hit the ditch.  The snow flew up and covered the windshield.  We came to an abrupt stop in the ditch.  Thankfully everyone was all right.  Dusty exclaimed, “That’s what I saw in my dream!”  Soon another semi came along and pulled us out of the ditch.  We were back on the road again

I’ll never know if Dusty’s dream helped us in any way.  But I do know God watched over us that day.

Prayer:  Loving God, Thank you for watching over us in all we do.  Help us to trust in you in the coming season of travel and family. Amen.

Peace Be With You. – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 16, 2021

•December 16, 2021 • Leave a Comment

It is always hard when there is a funeral or a memorial service this time of year.  There is this unusual incongruity of all the lovely Advent and Christmas decorations and the grief of a family.  

As I am putting together the service for Susie Sanders for this Friday, it all makes my mind swirl.  There is Christmas music playing on my Pandora channel.  I am receiving emails almost continually asking me to donate and help out a deserving charity or to buy something I desperately need from a store in our city.  

My mind is torn between ideas for my Sunday sermon and the ideas for Susie’s service.  It is torn between the lovely carols and the remembering that someone is no longer here on this earth for a Christmas with their family. 

It feels a bit frantic.  So I am pausing in my preparations for Sunday.  I am thinking about the Sanders family.  I am thinking about all who have lost family and friends this year.  I am thinking about people who are important to me, folks who have gone from this world, yet not from my life. 

I did not know Susie well. I knew her from who she was when she was helping with her sister Kaye Nelson.  Knowing that much about her helps me to appreciate her.  

Today, consider those who are feeling much different than the rest of us at this time of year.  Pray for them.  Call them if you know them.  Love them. 

Peace Be With You.  – Paul

Advent Devotional – December 15, 2021

•December 15, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Advent is a rich time of great anticipation.  For me, one of the most meaningful things is to be able to read again, to hear in worship, voices from the prophets, the Gospel writers, the beautiful songs of the seasons.  

For many right now, this is a hard time.  I appreciate that Mosaic United Methodist Church is hosting A Blue Christmas Longest Night Service.  It is a service of hope and healing.  

Maybe you have spent some time in darkness right now, and not just the lengthening of the nights and the shortening of daylight.  Maybe hope is hard to come by right now for you. Maybe grief is so close at hand that you cannot describe it.  

This is a time of the year when anticipation meets our fears.  Sometimes our fears overwhelm anticipation.  Sometimes on the longer and longest night, our brain will not shut off the messages of our insecurities.  

Many in our communities of faith have lost persons dear to them in this past year.  Others are struggling to keep their bodies and minds working like they wish.  We have lifted them up in prayer, but sometimes we need a service which helps us move toward healing and toward hope. 

Consider attending the service.  If you cannot or choose not to do so physically, the service will be livestreamed, and the links will be at the end of this devotional.  

The service begins with this prayer which spoke to me, and I hope speaks to you.

“Merciful God,

In this season of rejoicing, we come to you weary and grieving

In this season of feasting, we hunger for healing and relief

In this season of light, our hearts are veiled in sorrow and shadow 

Will this season ever end? 

“Yes.” We hear your, “Yes.” 

Those who are weary will find rest 

Those who mourn will be comforted 

Those who hunger will be filled 

The Light shines in the darkness, 

and the darkness will not overcome it.”

This service will be on Wednesday evening, December 15 at 6:00 p.m. at Mayfair Heights / Mosaic United Methodist Churches, 3131 NW 50, Oklahoma City, OK.  

Livestreaming Links:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/mosaicokc

(Look for the live broadcast or look under videos)  

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsVgwZz2xBlvWoFk8UFBucg  (Mosaic UMC Channel)