December 5, 2018

Dear Friends,

Advent is the time of preparation before we again celebrate the gift of our Lord and Savior, Emmanuel, God with us, in the form of a little human and yet divine baby. During Advent we clean ourselves up. We ready ourselves to receive the most important guest in our homes. We prepare the best food, we decorate our homes with glitter and color and everything filled with light. We buy gifts that are needed, ones that are requested and ones that surprise. All this in honor of God's entrance into the world God created.

This season we are reminded of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). You know the children's song: Zacchaeus was a wee little man... Well Zacchaeus was a very rich man. And Zacchaeus was a despised tax collector. Zacchaeus needed a friend and along came Jesus. All Zacchaeus wanted was a glimpse ofthe great man ofwhom he had heard so much. So Zacchaeus, short in stature, climbed a hearby Sycamore tree. And from there he saw Jesus. And more importantly, Jesus saw Zacchaeus. Jesus called to Zacchaeus to come down from that tree. Jesus chose to visit Zacchaeus' home. Jesus' acknowledgement of Zacchaeus transformed his life.

That is how Jesus works. He takes the least, the less likely, the one despised, the young, the employed, the underemployed, the unemployed, the poor and he turns everything topsy-turvy. We never know what Jesus may do next. All because Jesus loves, even the sinner. Even us. And in response to God's love, we give. We give of our time, our heart, our things, and ourselves. During this time of Advent, let us give more of ourselves. Let us join together in worship of our Lord. Let us share our time with one another. Let us share our gifts with those in need. Let us share our hearts and become the persons God knows we are. And then because of our love let us help others discover God's love.

You are officially invited to attend the Advent services and candlelight Christmas Eve service this season. These services are designed to teach and to bring us together in love, sharing and caring.

On December 16th, the United Methodist Men's group will serve a delicious pancake breakfast after an informal worship service in Fellowship Hall. Special music and delicious food are in order that day. The Christmas Eve candlelight service will begin at 5:30; lots of music, reading the story of Jesus' birth, and ending with the carol Silent Night in the midst of warm, glowing candlelight.

Zacchaeus, after meeting Jesus face to face, shared his vast resources. And those resources were appreciated and well used. However, Jesus wanted Zacchaeus' heart. Jesus wanted Zacchaeus to live a full and abundant life centered on 1ove You are invited into this transformation process, as we all are, to move ever closer to our God. May you choose to spend some of your time with the worshippers gathering at the Bennett's Corners Community United Methodist Church United Methodist where all are loved and appreciated for his or her unique gifts. Come and be part of the transformation.

I think you will agree that we experience the most joy when we give! Of course we are grateful for any gifts we receive. But when the face of a loved one lights up after opening the gift we chose especially for him or her, our heart breaks open with joy. If you are so inclined an envelope has been included for a special end-of-the-year gift to the church which will be greatly appreciated and well used

May this time of Advent be a time of great joy. And may the next year be one of great transformation and renewed love for our Lord.

Merry Christmas,
Amy Shipley, Pastor