This week: December 7th, 2017

Dear Friends~

From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus…

Today on the church calendar we celebrate St. Nicholas of Myra, a fourth century bishop and the patron saint of sailors and children. Legend has it that he was a wealthy man who was very kind and helped the poor. As the bearer of gifts to children, he was a popular saint in medieval Europe.

In northern Europe after the Reformation the stories and traditions of the saints became unpopular. But someone had to deliver presents to children at Christmas, so in England, he became Father Christmas, an old character from stories during the Middle Ages. In Austria and Germany the present giver became the Christkind, a golden-haired baby with wings who symbolizes the new born baby Jesus. In early America his name was Kris Kringle (from the Christkind). Later, Dutch settlers in America brought the old stories of St. Nicholas with them and Kris Kringle became Sinterklaas or as we now say, Santa Claus.

Notice how the traditional costume for Sinterklass shows him…

Inline image 2 He looks like our typical Santa Claus dressed up in bishop’s vestments—very appropriate given his history!

 Almighty God,
in your love you gave your servant Nicholas of Myra
a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea:
Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for
the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor,
and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

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Our Christmas tree is shining and bright! Thank you to Jeanie and family for setting up the tree and lights and to all who helped decorate it on Sunday. We had a party to light the tree, welcome Santa and make Gingerbread houses on Tuesday.

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As you can see, we had master builders in the house and a good time was had by all!

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This week we begin at the beginning. “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the son of God.”

Mark 1:1

There is no nativity story in Mark… either literal, as there is in Matthew and Luke, or metaphorical, as in John. Mark starts with the adult Jesus at his baptism by John.

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As our Advent calendar suggested on Monday, you can easily read the gospel of Mark in one sitting—it’s short. And you might even find that reference I asked about last week.

Inline image 8Why is this guy running away without any clothes on? The
story is in Mark 14:51-52.

Click HERE to read all the lessons for this Sunday.

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Inline image 9We still have a few Advent calendars left. And you still have time to use one. Be sure to pick up your Advent calendar at church this Sunday to help you mark the days and prepare for the coming of Jesus.

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Inline image 10 We completed another successful support with El Segundo Methodist Church for Family Promise on Sunday. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped. This ministry is really good news – for us and for the families. It’s a pleasure to meet the families and help them on their way. Think about joining us for the next support week in March of 2018. Contact Jeanie Powell at jpowell420@att.net to find out how you can be part of the program!

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