They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt and worshiped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and presented them to him. Then they returned to their country by another road, God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. Matthew 11,12.
The magi arrive with their gifts for Jesus on the Day of Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on January 6. We will celebrate their arrival on Sunday, January 5. Epiphany is a great festive day in the Christian tradition. The long journey of the magi reminds us of our own journeys of faith. The magi followed a star. What or who has helped us to reach Christ in our lives? The gifts of gold (royalty), frankincense (priest) and myrrh (death/sacrifice) symbolize the life, death and meaning of Jesus. What gifts do we bring to Jesus and what do they symbolize? It has been a tradition at Grace and other congregations to bring nonperishable food items to church on Epiphany Sunday wrapped in white as gifts to be shared with the local food pantry. These gifts remind us of Jesus' concern for the poor. White is the color of the Epiphany season because it is the combination of all colors. The magi represent all the nations of the world and the hope that one day all nations will be united in the love of God that is revealed in Christ.
The magi are forced to return home by another road because Herod wants to kill the Christ child. The Epiphany festivities take place in the context of a world that is often threatened by God's way of love and justice for all. In what ways do our lives and choices reflect the way of God or the way of Herod? Are we threatened by God's love, or do we celebrate and share that love? Two roads are offered, one leads to Herod, one leads to love. What road will we travel this new year? Once we have knelt in the presence of the Christ, I believe we will choose love. I look forward to traveling with you on love's highway this Sunday.
Yours in Christ, Pastor David
Upcoming Grace Events
January 5--Epiphany Sunday: Bring non-perishable food item wrapped in white paper to be given to a local food pantry. Joint baby shower for Ayo Ojo and Rachel Kowalski during fellowship time.
January 19 - Annual Congregational Meeting after worship
January 22 - Sr. Fellowship Trip
New Weekly Bible Study will begin in January. Date and time to be announced. Check with Pastor David for more details.
A scouting troupe (cubs) is being organized and will begin soon. Check with Laura Bruce for more details.
Sunday, December 22, we welcomed the following persons into membership at Grace UCC: Wilma B, Amanda E, Wendy M, Ayomude O, and Jackie R
The following were baptized during worship on December 22
Jackie R (affirmed her baptism), Allen B, Johnny F, Kemdram M, Isaiah B, Christian S and Kinglsey O
Wednesday, January 22nd, all seniors, 55+, are invited to enjoy a day trip to the Museum of San Felipe de Austin, in the town of San Felipe, which is near Sealy, Texas.
San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site is a historic site located in San Felipe, Austin County, Texas. The site preserves the location of the first provisional capital and Anglo-American colony in Mexican-owned Texas.
San Felipe de Austin was established in 1823 by Stephen F. Austin, who initially brought 297 families, the Old Three Hundred, under a contract with the Mexican Government. San Felipe de Austin played an important role in the events of the Texas Revolution. The Texian conventions of 1832 and 1833 and the Consultation assembly of 1835 were all held there.
Today, the site features a statue of Stephen F. Austin, a replica log cabin, and the 1847 Josey Store.
Please be at the church parking lot by 8:45 a.m. so we can leave at 9:00 a.m. We plan to be back by 2 p.m. The entrance fee is $8 for seniors. Our place to eat is still to be decided, but that will be at your own expense. It will be mostly inside in case of inclement weather. Hoping to see you there!
Natalie B 01/02, Raymunda S 01/07, Hallie M 01/09, Amanda E 01/10, Laura B 01/14, Marissa B 01/15,
Judah P 01/16, Ervid R 01/20, Tiffeny B 01/23,
Millie W 01/25, Esther P 01/29, Kemi K 01/31
It was our joy to welcome the following guests: Noel, Jessica, Miranda and Clarisse Lin; Wendy Gleason-Davis; Brenda Munson; Brittany Marsh; Jennifer and Jason Smith.