Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!

The year 2016 is rushing past! Summer is long gone – the first snow has been “weathered” – the Thanksgiving feast
has been enjoyed! And now, it’s on to Christmas! The stores have been decorated for months (it seems). We are now
bombarded with ads on a daily basis – through all forms of media – newspaper, radio, television. They tell us what we
must have – the latest, the best, the greatest in technological gadgets. And, in the midst of it all, we are called to
witness the beginning of the Advent Season. The signs are around us – the wreaths on the windows, the tree and
Advent wreath in the Sanctuary, the new carillon playing familiar seasonal tunes. There will be caroling, requests for
cards for the troops, ongoing needs for the Food Bank, and other special events. All of it culminates with the
Christmas Eve Service and a Christmas Day Service.
So, to help us prepare, I offer my projections for what the message will be for each upcoming worship experience.

  • Advent 1 (11/27) “No Time for a Snooze” – This message focused on Advent as a spiritual undertaking, a way for
    us to deepen our relationship with God, and certainly “no time for a snooze.” If we rush through this special
    season, we may miss an opportunity to focus more intentionally on the gift of Jesus Christ and what that means
    for our lives today. The texts focused on Christ’s 2nd coming – and called us to be alert, watchful, and vigilant in
    our lives as his followers.
  •  Advent 2 (12/4) “Snakes, Axes, and Fire – This Is Good News?” – This message will present a conversation
    between “Rev” and John the Baptist – in an attempt to understand John’s harsh words (Matthew 3: 1-12) directed
    toward the religious leaders. Are we also included as targets? Or do his words contain Good News, even though
    hidden within his seemingly insulting words? Find out on 12/4.
  •  Advent 3 (12/11) “New Life in Unexpected Places” – Amazed at the words in the text from Isaiah (35:1-10), I
    will dig into these images and see whether new life is being offered to us in our unexpected places. Will this
    Advent Season be the one that excites and enthralls and brings about amazing changes in our lives and the life at
    Emmanuel? Time will tell how this one turns out.
  •  Advent 4 (12/18) The Christmas Program will take the place of the Sermon. So, plan to come and receive a
    seasonal message in a different form, with music and readings, offered by the younger folk.
     Christmas Eve (12/24) “Step Back and Wonder” – With the well-known text from Luke (2:1-20) as the
    cornerstone, this message will draw us into the experience of the shepherds – common folk invited to witness the
    event of a lifetime – and how we are invited, as well, into experiencing this event in the common places of our
  •  Christmas Day (12/25) “What’s Next?” – Using the same text as Christmas Eve, this message will probe how our
    lives are changed, if at all, by the celebration of Christ’s birth. Does the “event of a lifetime” produce anything
    lasting in our daily lives? Whatever happened to those shepherds? What will happen to us after Christmas is past?
    I wish you, and your families, the very best of God’s Blessings
    for the Advent Season and for the celebration of Christmas!

Rev. Stout

PS: Please remember – I can be reached by phone at 409-658-7136 (cell) or e-mail at – please contact me if a need/emergency arises. I will also be available at the Church on Sunday morning or Tuesday usually from 9am-1pm. I can be available by appointment at other times/days that may be more convenient for you.

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