Newsletter




Light of the Cross Lutheran Church

December 2021
 
 

Light of the Cross Lutheran Church

December 2021
  Ponderings from Pastor Juli
I never know when inspiration will strike. Sometimes it comes just when I need it.  Other times it is way ahead of schedule, and I have to try to remember it.  Many times, the inspiration is more of an after thought – that I wished had arrived in a more timely (and useful) way.
 
But the inspiration for this Ponderings hit right on time!  I was pondering my Ponderings for this issue of the newsletter and I was under the gun to complete the task.  Of course, in those situations I rarely have a “flash” of insight – ad to be honest, I was facing a blank page with not one ounce of creativity.  What was I going to say about Advent or Christmas or the significance of the monumental event of Jesus’ birth – of the Word of god becoming human flesh and blood – of the event that made possible our forgiveness, our reconciliation and our salvation.
 
Swimming in a flood of random thoughts, I picked up a magazine that had arrived in the morning mail.  It isn’t a magazine to which I subscribe.  I’m not exactly sure how it is I am the recipient of this magazine, but it arrives every month.  It is called “Ministry: International Journal for Pastors " and is a publication of the Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.  (Well, I’m sure they need inspiration from time to time too!)
 
As I mindlessly perused the magazine, the pages opened to a colored picture of a stone pillar and the title of the article was “Go Build a Pillar”.  There it was…my inspiration.  I didn’t even read the article.  Suddenly something I had recently encountered resurfaced.  It was the story of Jacob’s dream. Jacob had a dream one night (as his head rested on a stone pillow), of a ladder set up on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven.  And in his dream, Jacob envisioned the angels of God ascending and descending that ladder.  In the dream, God addressed Jacob, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants.   Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land.”  When Jacob rose in the morning, he took the stone which had been his pillow and set it up for a pillar (an altar) and poured oil on the top of it.  He called that place Bethel which means “the house of God.”  It wasn’t uncommon in those days, for stone pillars to be set up as altars in places where significant events had occurred. Those altars were a visible witness to the closeness of God’s presence, and a reminder of God’s promise to be with his people.
 
There is a beautiful Christmas hymn titled, “From Heaven Above” in our hymnal. The words were written by Martin Luther and one verse in particular always speaks to me at this time of year:  “Ah, dearest Jesus, holy child, prepare a bed, soft, undefiled, a quiet chamber in my heart, that you and I may never part.”  Luther was speaking of an altar, I think, as the place where God, in the infant-Jesus, seeks to make his dwelling place in our hearts…a place so close that we don’t have to look far to find the source of love, light, hope, joy or peace.  My prayer for all of you this Christmas season is that you will be drawn to that altar, that “quiet chamber in your heart” where you can feel God’s presence, know God’s love, and remember that God is with you always.  A blessed Christmas to you all.  Pastor Juli
 
WELCA Christmas Gathering
All women of the church are invited to the WELCA Christmas Potluck Brunch on Tuesday, December 21 at 9:30 a.m.  Please bring a potluck brunch item to share.
Being so close to Christmas, we will feel the festiveness in the air.  You want to be a part of this special event! 
 
 
Quilter’s Pin Available through Lutheran World Relief
Lutheran World Relief is offering a beautiful pin for quilters.  This pin symbolizes Christ’s love spread by the work of your hearts and hands in making quilts.  It is a small token of appreciation for your faithful service.  Though we may not currently be making quilts to send away – our quilters are involved in making quilts that support various organizations and concerns around our synod.  If you are a quilter, and would like to receive one of these (free) pins – please go to LWR.org/QKPIN.  You will be asked a couple of questions about your quilting activities (past or present), and will provide an address where your gift can be mailed. 
 
Gratitude for Missionary Support
Each year our congregation supports a missionary through the ELCA Global Missions.  We give $1000 as a congregational benevolence for the support of our missionary, Rev. Chandran Paul Martin, who serves in India.  In addition, some of you also support our missionary through your designated offerings or special gifts.  We recently received a letter from the ELCA acknowledging our ongoing support.  Here is an excerpt from that letter:
            “Thank you for your faithful support of ELCA global missionaries and ministries. 
            We are a church that believes God is calling us into this world – together.
            Because of your generosity, in 2021 we have been able to support more than       100 missionaries in over 40 countries who are serving alongside our
            companions in Christ.  ELCA missionaries serve as medical doctors, teachers,
           pastors, theological educators, communications specialists and so much
            more.  Through them, this church is actively engaging with the global church
            thanks to your generosity and partnership.”
 
We sometimes forget how big and inclusive God’s church is.  This is a good reminder that we are not just a little church in a small community – but we are impacting ministry around the world through our gifts to support our missionary.  Thank you!
 
Thank you for your generous giving of time, talents, and tithes:
  • Thanks to the Men’s Crew and WELCA for serving a delicious French toast breakfast on the First Sunday of Advent for our Advent Festival.  It was a special treat – on National French Toast Day (who knew?).
  • Thank you to the members of the Altar Guild for their work throughout the year to prepare our church for its worship services.  Thanks also to Dick & Jan Gatz who change out the season banners at the front windows.  Your attention to these details really enhances our worship experiences!
  • The Advent boxes have been delivered to our homebound folks and once again, these gifts have been gratefully received.  This is a lovely tradition in our church during the Advent season. You make a difference with your gifts!
  • Our Thanksgiving offering of $237 was designated for the Food Shelf.  In addition, non-perishable items were also donated.  Thank you for this generous gifts and your ongoing support for the Food Shelf!
  • Among the “behind the scenes” workers are the money counters who assist Bobbie every week to make sure the gifts you give are recorded.  Our thanks to them for their unseen work each week!
 
Daily Readings for Advent: Year C
Week One beginning Sunday, November 28, 2021
Sunday          Romans 8:18-23                   Unseen hope
Monday          Psalm 130                             Waiting in hope
Tuesday         Matthew 12:15-21                Hope in Christ’s name
Wednesday   1 Corinthians 15:16-22       Hope for eternal life
Thursday       Titus 2:11-14                         Our blessed hope
Friday             1 Peter 1:3-9                         Born anew to a living hope
Saturday        Psalm 146                             Our hope is in our God and Lord
 
Week Two beginning Sunday, December 5, 2021
Sunday          Isaiah 54:7-10                       God’s steadfast love
Monday          1 John 4:7-11                        God loved us and sent his Son
Tuesday         John 3:13-17                         God so loved the world
Wednesday   1 John 3:1-3                          The Father’s love
Thursday       1 Corinthians 13:8-13          Love never ends
Friday             Romans 12:9-13                   Let love be genuine
Saturday        Ephesians 2:1-10                 God’s rich mercy and great love
 
Week Three beginning Sunday, December 12, 2021
Sunday          Isaiah 52:7-10                       Publish the good news of peace
Monday          Colossians 1:15-20              Peace by the blood of his cross
Tuesday         John 14:25-27                      My peace I give to you
Wednesday   Romans 5:1-5                       We have peace with God
Thursday       Isaiah 9:6-7                           The Prince of Peace
Friday             Philippians 4:4-7                  Peace that surpasses understanding
Saturday        Luke 2:8-14                           On earth peace
 
Week Four beginning Sunday, December 19, 2021
Sunday          Isaiah 38:17-20                     You have delivered my life
Monday          Romans 6:20-23                   The free gift of eternal life
Tuesday         John 1:1-5                             In him was life
Wednesday   John 10:7-15                         Abundant life
Thursday       1 Corinthians 15:50-58       Eternal life in Christ
Friday             1 John 5:11-15                     Whoever has the Son has life
Saturday        John 20:30-31                      Life in Jesus’ name
 
Women’s Christmas Luncheon
Glory Baptism Church in Deerwood is inviting area women to a Christmas Luncheon on Thursday, December 2.  Time of the luncheon was not available, but for reservations (and more information), call 218-927-3678.  Call soon because we also did not know the reservation deadline.
 
Snowbirds – Update Your Winter Address
Before you head for warmer weather, please be sure to update your winter address.  I know for some of you it has not changed, but for others I know there have been some relocations.  There is a sign up sheet at church, or you can just call the church office and let us know the information!  Have a wonderfully warm winter wherever you call home!
 
Thrivent Choice Dollars
If you are a person who likes to tie up loose ends at year end, we don’t want you to forget about directing your Thrivent Choice Dollars.  Though you have until March 31, 2022 to designated your 2021 Choice Dollars, you can also do it today.  If you have a qualifying product through Thriven, directing your Choice Dollars is easy:
  • Call 1-800-847-4836 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday OR
  • Go online to Thrivent.com, àMy Thriventà Direct Thrivent Dollars
Listen to the prompts and respond accordingly to direct your Choice Dollars earned in 2021.  Light of the Cross Lutheran is one of the many churches and charities available for your consideration.  If you choose to designate your gift to LOC, we thank you!
 
We wish each of you a Blessed and Holy Christmas
May the hope, peace, joy and love of Christ fill your lives in wondrous and graceful ways in the coming year.
From the Staff of Light of the Cross Lutheran Church