I'm a seasonal guy: that doesn't mean I am here today and gone tomorrow, but it means I savor the seasons of the year. A friend posted something on Facebook after a long walk on a cold morning, and she said, "I love Winter!"
Not everyone feels that way, I know.
And I know this is an unusually hard season for many of us. The other day I asked a young woman in the community how she was doing and she responded, "I am having a tough time. I am tempted to go to a very dark place." So, if you are finding these days difficult to bear, you are not alone!
Here is one thing about the Winter that struck me this week: you can see further through the branches when the leaves are down. I love the wild spectrum of colors displayed by leaves in the Fall, but when they have finally made their exit you can see further through the barren branches. What was once hidden by the leaves can now be seen. I realized this as I drove through the country last week. Now, I could see to the other side of the creek. I had been unable to see that sloping ground on the other side of the creek because of the leaves, but now those fields and that old barn on the higher ground are visible.
There may be many things about our "ordinary" life that we are missing, and that may be a hard thing for us. However, this may also be a season when God can help us see what we might have been missing. Maybe, with the leaves down and less clutter on the calendar, we can see our life, our relationships, our soul connection with God, in new ways.
Some people grumble every step of the way into Fall and Winter. I get it. I understand there are some things about the season that are hard to bear. And yet we may be able to see things, important things, beautiful things, through the barren branches of this season. What have you been missing about your life and relationships that you might see through the barren branches of this season? Ask God for eyes that see.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
What have you been missing? You may be able to see what you've been missing through the branches.
Because of the rising rate of COVID cases (with some of our church staff being exposed to the virus), we are being even more careful in our church office about masking and social distancing. While worship services will continue on-line (premiering at 8:30 a.m. Sundays on our web site and YouTube), and the Wednesday food ministry will go forward as scheduled, we will be encouraging our church staff to work from home as much as possible. We will do our best to keep the church office open from 9-4 Monday through Thursday. The staff Christmas gathering has been postponed until the surge subsides and things are safer. Thank you for your prayers and patience.
Join us Sunday on-line for worship as we look at the role Mary plays in the drama of God's appearing in our world. The sermon title is "A Young 'Yes' to the Mystery: Mary." To get the most out of worship, read Luke 1:35-56 and have your elements for Holy Communion ready as we celebrate the Lord's Supper.
Thanks to all who have expressed their love for God by turning in a 2021 financial "faith promise" card. If you have not yet made this decision to honor God with your best so that we can do our best for God, please do that this week! Your prayers and your gifts matter.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Mark Fenstermacher
First United Methodist Church1203 E. Seventh Street | Auburn, IN email@example.com | 260.925.0885