Advent Theme -” How Does a Weary World Rejoice?”

Christ was born into a weary world. King Herod ruled the land with a legacy of ruthlessness. The Romans treated the people of Israel with contempt, imposing harsh taxes and land seizures that forced many into subsistence farming. Poverty and destitution were pervasive. And yet, Christ was born, bringing good news of great joy for all people.
As Advent comes again to a weary world, we ask, “How does a weary world rejoice?” From the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel, we have found a few answers: we acknowledge our weariness, we find joy in connection, we allow ourselves to be amazed, we sing stories of hope, we make room, we root ourselves in ritual, and most importantly, we trust our belovedness. In the parallel birth stories of Jesus and John, joy arrives—despite trepidation, fear, or grief. In these stories, we find rhythms for rejoicing. As we move through our series, we hope to create space for acknowledging the weariness of our world while celebrating God’s closeness with great joy.
And so, this Advent, we will hold space for our weariness and our joy. We will seek a “thrill of hope” in our hurting world. We will welcome joy—even if, like the prophet Isaiah, we cry out for comfort (Isaiah 40:1). In this weary world, may we find many ways to rejoice.
Join us this Advent season as we find comfort in community and rejoice in God’s goodness

What Can We Give?

One of the questions often heard in the days following Christmas is “did you get everything you wanted?” First and foremost, it is important to remember that it is not our birthday. We are celebrating the birthday of Christ. While there is significance and importance to demonstrating our love and admiration for friends and family during the holidays, and there is joy in exchanging gifts, it is also good to do so with purpose and intention. What matters are those things you can’t buy – time spent with family and friends; experiences shared; kindness; love; patience; compassion; tolerance; sharing; service to others; making a difference. I encourage you to invest your time and energy in those gifts that don’t break, rust, become outdated or need to be returned – it will pay great dividends to you and your loved ones.
And during this time of the year that can be stressful and overwhelming, gratitude never grows old, and it shouldn’t be tossed out with the turkey leftovers. Before we get drawn into the holiday mindset of “what am I going to get?” let’s take a moment to give thanks for what we have been given, and give thanks to God and the people around you.
•    Gratitude helps us stay in the present. When we’re focused on things we can give thanks for today, we’re not living in the past or worried about the future.
•    Gratitude helps us avoid negative thinking, which when left unchecked, leads to negative emotions. You can’t be grateful and envious at the same time.
•    Gratitude increases our resistance to stress. Grateful people tend to bounce back more quickly from adversity.
•    Gratitude increases our sense of self-worth. Grateful people recognize the contributions others have made to their lives, and this transforms the way they see themselves.
•    Three ways to cultivate gratitude
•    1. Keep a gratitude journal.
•    2. Count your blessings on a regular basis. Similar to keeping a gratitude journal, without writing everything down. This can be done in the morning, in the evening, and all throughout the day. It’s the application of the “give thanks in everything” verse.
•    3. Use visual reminders.  Simple reminders, like putting Scripture verses in places we’ll regularly see them, can prompt us to be grateful. Some people like to drop notes of gratitude in a “gratitude jar.” The point is to do whatever helps us recognize and appreciate our many blessings.
In remembering God’s grace given to us through Christ, may you find much to be thankful for. Wishing you a blessed holiday season and a joyous Christmas.
Karen

A Greeting from FCCG

May the true spirit of Christmas shine in your heart and light your path this holiday season and into the New Year. Wishing you a season that’s merry and bright with the light of God’s love, and may you receive the priceless gift of spending time with loved ones, and sharing in the joys of generosity and gratitude.
Merry Christmas& Happy New Year!

Happy Birthday to all December Birthdays!

Happy birthday!! We hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter! May all of your birthday wishes come true. God Bless!

8    Deliena Paschal
10    Linda Taylor
11    Ariel Osorio
17    Ryder Bertolette
18    Hannah Majidi
18    Mattea Davis
19    Jerrie Nackos
27    Robert Deering
29    Stacy Velky