In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Luke 2:8,9
The Christmas story begins in terror for the shepherds. What terrifies you? Beyond the surprising angel and shining glory, there were other frightening realities in the region. There was a terrifying empire that occupied the region whose brutality was reflected in a forced registration that caused even the most vulnerable to migrate long distances. There was the terror of callousness and cruelty on display as a young pregnant mother is forced to give birth in a stable with only a manger, a feeding box for a crib. There is the terror of mental distress that comes with every rejection in a time of need. It is not hard to see the parallels between that first Christmas and the present Christmas. There are still governments that force migrations and refuse asylum to the suffering. There are still young pregnant mothers without shelter. There is still mental distress deepened by rejection and cold hardheartedness in times of need. These terrors are still with us this Christmas.
The Christmas story proclaims that it is in the very midst of terrifying realities that God sends angels into our world to say to all of us fear-filled shepherds, "Do not be afraid." How many angels have come into our lives precisely when we felt that the terror would overwhelm us? These messengers fill our night with God's shining glory that can move us from despair to hope to joy. The angel declares, "To you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord..." When that Christmas message shatters our night and scatters the terror, we realize that we are surrounded by a whole host of angels praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace, and goodwill to all." With the angel's message still echoing in our hearts, we can face the terrors of this time no longer fearful but faithful. In courage born of faith, we join God's joyful messengers of peace and hope and love in showing the world that Jesus Christ is born. The Christmas story begins in terror for the shepherds but ends in joy with the shepherds praising and glorifying God. May it be so for all of us.
Merry Christmas! Yours in Christ, Pastor David
Upcoming Grace Events
December 8: Wrapping of Christmas presents for Settegast Heights children/seniors during Fellowship time. Bring wrapping paper and scotch tape and join in the fun of giving to others.
December 14: Christmas Party at Settegast Heights apartments from 11 am to 2 pm. See article elsewhere in the newsletter for more information.
December 15: Christmas Pageant and Luncheon. Christma Party Ornament Exchange (bring a wrapped ornament to exchange)
December 19: Blue Christmas Service 7:00 pm
December 24: Candlelight service, 7:00 pm
Grace UCC Senior Fellowship - Please join us on Thursday, November 7, for a trip to the Bayou Wildlife Zoo in Alvin, TX. We will leave from the church parking lot at 8:45 AM. The discount entrance fee is $8 plus a bus fee of $1.00. Lunh will be at King's Biergarten in Pearland. The lunch expense will be your own choice. The plan is to return to church by 2:30 PM.
Hope K 12/01, Joey B and Rajinee B 12/16, David P 12/20
Karen D and Logan B 12/22, Donna C 12/24
Chris E and Lola A 12/25, Lindsayann A 12/27
Lisa D and Patti W 12/29, Elizabeth J 12/30
It was our joy to welcome the following guests: Tamasin Artru, Freddie Quilet & Family, Olanrewaju Keshinro, Abigail Benge, Richard & Peggy Feyen, Ron & Sue Krueger, Rachen Jo Oyrsin, Jane Wilhelms Bennie Trent, Larry Keshinro WELCOME!!