Tag Archives: Christmas

A Gracious Christmas at First Presbyterian Church in Savannah

gracious-fbookThe Women of First Presbyterian Church of Savannah invite you to a morning dedicated to helping you make this Christmas especially memorable and lovely for your family and friends!

Three bright and creative speakers will share their talents and ideas to grace your Christmas!

For a delightful time of preparation, learning and fellowship, reserve the date, and check back with us for more details!  Tickets for the event including the presentations and lunch are $45.  Tickets for the keynote speaker and luncheon only are $30.  They may be purchased below or by sending a check to First Presbyterian (made out to First Presbyterian Church) at 520 Washington Ave Savannah, GA 31405.  Checks must include the names of the ticket holders.

Proceeds from “A Gracious Christmas” will benefit the Fresh Air Home at Tybee, a faith-based summer camp for underprivileged children.

An Open Door

barn_7426c“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. ” Luke 2:7

One most favorite visit in my adult life was one which happened each year at Christmas. In those days, Kathy and I would load up the Honda Civic station wagon with five kids and bundles of presents and head out across town to Decatur to my Mother and Dad’s house. Christmas Eve was usually a cold night and as we pulled up you could smell the aroma of a fire that awaited us behind the front door. As we made our way toward the entrance, like clockwork each year the door would open and my Dad, with his pipe adding to the aroma of that from the fireplace, would greet us; his face beaming with delight. “Come into my house!” he would exclaim. The rest of the evening would be filled with wonderful food, conversation and storytelling, and presents to open. But the thing that I most remember was the door opened wide and his greeting, fueled with the love of his family; it just overflowed out of him.

In 1968, a young Presbyterian minister and writer, Frederick Buechner wrote a sermon entitled “The Birth.” It was also made into a live television play in which the actor, Edward G. Robinson portrayed the Innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away and led to the birth of Jesus in a cave stable near the Inn. In the monologue of the Innkeeper, Robinson talks a lot about how encumbered he was running an inn, that indeed was full. His message is directed at people in the world who can identify with the running of a small business, or a family or even one’s own life. He seeks to find empathy for his being bogged down in a million things to do; directing his guests, changing linens, providing meals, and chopping wood for the fireplaces.

The innkeeper concludes by saying, “So when the baby came I was not around. I don’t know if I even heard anything, but this I do know. All your life long you wait for your own true love to come, your heart’s desire. So how am I to say it? When he came, I missed him.”

In all of our million things to do in this season, may we find ourselves first making time to open wide the doors of our hearts. May then the Christ child be born again to dwell in our lives in Grace and Peace! Amen.

Grace and Gratitude – Thoughts in Advent and Christmas

cmas_5324cnIn the November issue of “The Pastor’s Life,” a new publication via email from the Presbyterian Foundation, there was a quote from Karl Barth regarding the relationship between God’s grace and our gratitude to God for God’s grace. Barth said, “Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice of an echo. Gratitude follows grace like thunder lightning….We are speaking of the grace of God who is God for man, and of the gratitude of man as his response to this grace…. The two belong together, so that only gratitude can correspond to grace, and this correspondence cannot fail.”

Of course the Presbyterian Foundation’s reason for using this quote is to place the theological premise that stewardship is a way of life, not four Sundays in November. In thanksgiving for all we have, indeed our very being, Graciousness is that image we are created in. We are born to give God’s gifts to us in like kind to each other and to all God’s creation.

Recent days have unfolded terrible trauma within our country that in some ways have shut us down, as those innocents and their families are buried in their grief as they attend the funerals of those they love. We have no answers and we shy away from feeling anything too deep, even the hope, peace, joy and love of Advent seem to be just words in our liturgies.

But let us not forget that these words are the gifts that God gives us over and over in order that we may remember the coming of the Christ child. The child who came in a horrible time of murder and violence perpetrated by a crazed king. God entered our humanity in a time of great darkness with the light of the world; the hope, peace, joy and love of our Savior. That gift of grace is the light that shines still, even today!

It was given in the midst of the darkness that first Christmas. Barth is right; our corresponding gifts, given even in darkness, cannot fail!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Merry Christmas!