Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 2016 newsletter

 Family of Hope House Church                 December 2016

At Christmas, we welcome the sojourner

My father Ben and mother Mary had been married less than four months when they made a 200-mile move in a horse drawn covered wagon from my father’s home area in Oklahoma to the rural community of my mother’s birth in Kansas. 
Against the advice of some of their elders, my parents, young and a little foolish, set the first day of winter, December 21, 1925, as their departure date.  All went well until the day after Christmas, when it became extremely cold. Unknown to them the temperature had dropped to 10 degrees below on that Sunday morning as they headed north into a stiff prairie wind. 
My father closed the front of the wagon to keep it warmer for his young bride, and he got out and walked with the team to keep them moving and to try to stay warm in the bitter cold. My mother’s feet and my Dad’s ears and fingers became frostbitten before they finally reached the farm house of relatives where they stayed for the night.
This story about Ben and Mary reminds me of some of the reality of the first Christmas. Another young couple, Joseph and Mary, embark on a journey of also about a week’s length, in less extreme weather but without benefit of a team and wagon. 
Scenes depicting their journey portray Mary as a young woman with a halo, serene, pregnant and riding a donkey. But in reality, the virgin mother may have been a young and exhausted teenager, and perhaps had to travel on foot. And upon arriving in Bethlehem the refugee couple face chilling rejection and No Vacancy signs instead of finding rest and welcome in their time of need.
As if this weren’t bad enough, the couple is then forced to undertake another journey, to find temporary safe haven in Egypt. 
Thus Christmas is a story about homeless and travel weary asylum seekers. It is about a God who seeks refuge and welcome even today in an inhospitable world.                                                       - Harvey Yoder

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • DECEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Karen Campbell 12/26!
  • BLESSINGS ON PAUL AND BERTHA SWARR, whose new address is 1285 Shank Drive,  #214, Harrisonburg, VA 22802. Paul is at Park Place and Bertha at Woodland Park. Their new phone number is 540-564-3707.
  • RACHEL STOLTZFUS is recovering well at her home at 6516 Lone Oak Ct., Bethesda, MD 20814 (301-841-3441). 
  • KARLA MAY is now in Room 43A at Grant Memorial Hospital, 117 Hospital Drive, Petersburg, WV 26847. She continues to appreciate our prayers. 
  • PRAY FOR MARGIE VLASITS as she undergoes treatment for her cancer.
  • FOH will not be meeting on Christmas Day.
December Lectionary readings
4   Isaiah 11:1-10  Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19  Romans 15:4-13 Matthew 3:1-12
11  Isaiah 35:1-10 Psalm 146:5-10  Luke 1:46b-55 James 5:7-10 Matthew 11:2-11 
18 Isaiah 7:10-16  Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19  Romans 1:1-7  Matthew 1:18-25
25 Isaiah 9:2-7  Psalm 96  Titus 2:11-15  Luke 2:1-20 Hebrews 1:1-12 John 1:1-14

December services worship at 4, meal at 6 
4 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802   574-6141 
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger                                            
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                 Carry-in Meal                             
11 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave  432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson
Bible Study: James Stauffer                                          Finger Foods Meal
18 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802  564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                        
Bible Study: Dick Dumas (texts from 18 & 25 readings) Carry-in Meal                

25 No FOH service on Christmas Day

No comments:

Post a Comment