Dear FPC—
It is Advent! That is a countercultural practice that I invite you to join in.   In our world everything seems to conspire to keep us busy, frazzled, rushing.  That is maybe most pronounced at Christmastime.  The parties, the shopping, the decorating, the cards, the eating, the obligations—it can feel overwhelming!  Or maybe you are feeling loss especially keenly right now—a loved one, a relationship, physical abilities –absences can loom large this time of year.  Frazzled, depressed, sad, distracted—whatever you are feeling, I invite you to practice Advent and give yourself a break!
As we mentioned on Sunday, Advent is really a time of pausing and preparing to notice how God is with us.  It is the opposite of being so busy you can’t even think or so down you can’t get up. We included an Advent devotional in the bulletin on Sunday, I hope it is a nice pause for you.  You can pick up new ones each Sunday during Advent.  I also want to share two resources you can explore this Advent season.
First is a prayer retreat from our friends at Pray As You Go.  These are Jesuits in Britain who offer a wonderful 10 minute/day time of reflection on Scripture.  I really love this resource.  They have a special Advent retreat, which you can find here.  (if you want to check out their daily prayer, go to https://pray-as-you-go.org/ or open their app).
Second, the Advent devotional from www.thecommonrule.org/advent-devotionals-page is wonderful– just 4 simple habits to work on this month:  punctuate your day with prayer (kneeling if possible) 3 times (morning/noon/night); no phone before scripture; light a candle; and no phone while waiting (use times of waiting to interact with people!).  Check it out and see what you think.  The prayers can be very short—just a sentence or two, the idea is to remind yourself of God’s presence with you, right now.  You can also access their Advent devotional pdf here.
Don’t make yourself busy doing Advent, but do give yourself a break and stop to be with Jesus for a few minutes.  Blessings on you this week!  See you Sunday when we light the Peace Candle!

Pastor Steve

Dear FPC—
Happy Thanksgiving! I love Thanksgiving because it is about gratitude and family and seems less commercialized that many other holidays. Oh, and food! Did I mention the food? 😊
Seriously though, looking for the blessings you have in life and choosing the be grateful for them is a very healthy practice. We can be content or unhappy in all circumstances, it is up to how we respond. This morning the men’s breakfast was talking about “glass half full faith” as opposed to “glass half empty faith.” I encourage you to walk towards your loving Savior and enjoy a glass half full life (maybe you’ll even notice that it 3.4s full—or even full to overflowing!) Just open yourself up to the ways God is blessing you and say thank you!
Don’t forget about our special Thanksgiving Eve service, Wednesday at 7 pm. This is a great way to get into an attitude of gratitude.
This Thanksgiving take a few minutes to stop and pray and give thanks for the blessings in your life. I’ll be thanking God for you!
Gratefully,

Pastor Steve

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