Florence Congregational Church
Thursday, February 20, 2020
A Place to Connect

December News From the Pastor

December is only a few days away, yet we of Hampshire County have seen no snow yet.  For some that is just fine, for others it’s terrible.  There has been lots of sunshine and exceptional warm days for the past few weeks, but none of that white fluffy stuff.  For me, it is hard to think of winter without at least a little sparkling ground cover, although it is a chore to shovel sometimes. 
Advent season is here (actually beginning December 2nd) bringing with it all the expectations of festivals, parties, decorating Christmas trees, presents and family gatherings.  Several folks here in Massachusetts want a light snowfall before Christmas to make everything white, clean, and dazzling. There is something about the magical sparkling snow that speaks to the beginning of our Advent season and it never seems quite right to begin it without the first snow.  It has a way of orienting us to our Christian calendar year.
Advent is a very special time of year for us as Christians.  It is a wondrous time of year, filled with anticipation and expectation.  We are reminded of the miracles that proclaimed the birth; visits by angels, and bright guiding stars.  However, what I find most amazing is that the miraculous in-breaking of God into our lives was done in the form of a baby.  No more pillars of fire or whirlwinds, which God used to lead the Israelites.  It was now time for something new… a new covenant, a new relationship to be established between God and humanity.  A relationship which established that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8: 38-39)
As Christianity has been passed on from generation to generation, perhaps we have forgotten how unique and radical this event was.  It is another holiday in another year for us. But the birth of Jesus was nothing less than an act of God’s redeeming grace for our sake. Even so, Christmas time is an occasion when life can get very confusing for many.  A time, if not carefully planned, that will sap every bit of energy from the body.  I think part of it is our cultural pace, but another is the adrenaline rush of the wonder and excitement of children, family and friends, family gatherings, feasting, extra treats, candy and perhaps lack of sleep.
Maybe this year could be different.  Think about new ways you might honor and celebrate this wonderful and yes spiritual time of year.  Are there things you could do differently that would make it even more special?  Maybe you could sit down with your child, niece, nephew or grandchild by the Christmas tree in a rocking chair and talking about the true meaning of Christmas.  Possibly you would find peace in beginning a devotional reading time each morning or evening?  There are devotionals available at the church and many great books of poems, devotions and stories at local bookstores.
Maybe in combination to reading you might decide to share in the Advent worship services here at the church and the Christmas Eve service.  This is a special time that we gather as God’s people recognizing the peace and wonder God has given to us in the birth of his son.  We can share the Good News of Christ birth with each other and people we have never met.    Spend some time in quiet thinking about the wondrous love and peace given to us in the Christ child, God’s special gift to us; that we might in our brokenness find the joy of wholeness in his son.



Love In Christ,

Pastor Irv

Florence Congregational Church • 130 Pine Street, Florence, Massachusetts 01062 • 413.584.1325


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