Means of Grace: Advent

Advent is well under way and if you are like most folks, it may have gotten under way just a little earlier than you anticipated. This is due, in large part, to the fact that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, so the beginning of Advent falls four full weeks before Christmassomething that only happens about once a decade.

We could choose to be disgruntled about Advent’s early arrival, but it seems better to look at it as an opportunity to center ourselves more, to focus ourselves more, and to ready ourselves more for the coming of Christmas. For those who have an Advent wreath at home, it is a wonderful chance to light those candles each day, whether it is at mealtime or some other time and to spend some time in reading or in prayer or in song (or a combination of all three) in focusing on each week’s “theme”: hope, love, joy, and peace.

Even if you don’t have an Advent wreath, take the time to light a candle before your daily prayers and take a breath and focus on the Light that shines against this world of darkness; focus on the Hope of Christ’s return; focus on the Love that God has shown His children; focus on the Joy of having a Risen Savior; and focus on the promised Peace to come.

Whatever you do, take an opportunity to pause before the Lord in this season and to remember that Advent is our new beginningthe beginning of our church year as we reset our hearts and minds to hear the greatest story ever told all over againto acknowledge again that we are called to be God’s people.

~ Pastor Amy

Five Unique Churches Sharing One Common Mission

St. Paul’s UMC ~ Republic Trinity

Melmore UMC ~ Sycamore UMC ~ Union Salem UMC


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

When I think of the days before Christmas, the first thought that comes to mind is not waiting or stillness. But waiting is exactly what we are doing! We are waiting for the remembrance of Jesus birth. We are waiting for the promises of Advent, of peace, hope, love and joy. Ultimately, we are waiting for the return of Jesus.

The word waiting stirs thoughts of sitting, of impatience, longing or being stagnate. Waiting does not seem like an active way to live...yet Christmas is such an active time. How can this be a time of waiting and also a time of rushing? Can it
be both?

I suppose that it depends what you are focusing on. If we are focusing on cooking the big meals, planning the perfect holiday gatherings, and purchasing the perfect gifts, then there isn’t a lot of time for stillness in waiting. If we are buzzing from event to event, waiting doesn’t really enter into our minds. There doesn’t even seem to be time for waiting.

My prayer for you and for me this Advent and this Christmas season is that we will lean into the waiting. My prayer is that we can still our minds and our spirits and focus on the waiting. Waiting in hope helps us to build anticipation for the

My prayer for you and for me is that we can see and understand that we are really living in a perpetual state of waiting. We are waiting for Jesus to return. We are called to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus.
May you be blessed in the waiting,
~ Pastor Charlene

Keep an eye out for Little Jesus!

You never know just where you might see him! If you find him and he stays, you may want to give him a hand shake. He just may let you spend more time to look at where he has been in your life and in the lives of others!

Don't forget though, he wants you to follow him and to do that you need to sign up, show up, and help his light shine by spreading the light.