News from Paxton Methodist: December 27, 2020
Grace and peace from our brother Jesus, Amen. Sunday was the First Sunday after Christmas. We at Paxton hope you had a safe but merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year. We are all ready to say goodbye to the problems of 2020!
Sue and I had a really nice Christmas. Our daughter and her faithful four-legged companion, Stella, spent several days with us. Sue and Megan went to see Grandma Dixie in Nacogdoches on Christmas Eve, finding Dixie quite cheerful. They also visited with Sue’s sister, brother-in-law, and nephew—who was born about a month after Meg. My brother and his wife came on Christmas Eve with their new dog, Scally. Scally is still very much a (large) puppy but got along with the other three dogs and all the people. Sue and Megan fixed a great Christmas meal, and we had fun opening presents. I sure got some neat stuff.
Christmas week for the most part was chilly but nice. On Saturday, it warmed up to near 70, which thawed out my blood: I spent some needed therapy time in the yard and garden. Our company left Saturday, and our dogs, Sam and Gunter, just collapsed after all the excitement. We don’t have any New Year plans and probably won’t even stay up for midnight. We are pretty boring, I guess. Actually I read last week that people who like routines and staying at home are not boring but content. That sounds better!
Paxton Methodist is having in-person worship; we respect each other by wearing masks and keeping socially distant. Scientists and medical professionals say that we can do three simple things before the vaccines are generally available: To curtail the spread of Covid-19, we should wash our hands regularly, stay at least 6 feet apart—social distancing, and yes, wear a mask. Things are so dire that mask-wearing is the patriotic thing to do. It is also the Christian thing to do, loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
All during the month of December we have been collecting cans of soup for Community Christian Services. In January 2021, we will collect cans of tuna. Paxton Methodist Church wants to thank the anonymous person who sent a generous amount of money to the church. We will certainly use it in the ministries of the church.
We want to be as safe as we can. Since we resumed in-person worship, our music has been on CD. We can hum the song under our masks but no vigorous singing! We started with “The First Noel,” sung by Elvis. We tried this song last week; unfortunately, the CD didn’t work—or perhaps Elvis left the building! But Elvis was back this week. The second song was our New Year hymn, “Morning Has Broken.” This is my absolute favorite in the Methodist hymnal; I particularly like this version by Cat Stevens.
Fannie had a really good Sunday School lesson for us this morning. Gene read our scripture, John 14: 8-14. This Gospel is certainly the most mystical of the four Gospels, showing us the cosmic as well as the human nature of the Christ. In the reading, the disciples are still having trouble figuring out what kind of Messiah Jesus is. For John, when one sees Jesus, one sees God. Fannie mentioned that the earliest Christians were known as Followers of the Way; they didn’t think of being true to Jesus as a religion but as the pathway to God and fulfillment. Jesus was the living presence of God among people.
I used the Gospel lesson for this Sunday—the First Sunday after Christmas—which came from Luke 2: 22-40. One of the days of Christmas is set aside to remember Jesus’ circumcision and his naming. In the Gospel lesson we see Jesus presented at the Temple and two elderly, faithful people, Simeon and Anna, realizing that this Jesus was the Promised One. Most of my sermon, though, spoke about how people in the Middle Ages celebrated the 12 days of Christmas and the importance of Christmastide to the people.
Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here. Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, and Open Minds.” Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist, you can send your email address to the Paxton email address, and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed.