Worship at Home for December 3 2023

Dear Friends,

The signs of Christmas are here! Volunteers have decorated the sanctuary in anticipation of celebrating Christmas. So many opportunities to share and celebrate the expected coming of the Christ Child are around us. We have an opportunity to Experience Christmas as a community at St. Peter’s this December! Join me for the Advent Study Experience Christmas after worship.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church).

  • Advent Tea on Saturday, December 2, please call the church office to reserve your seating for 2pm. The 11am seating is full.
  • Christmas Cantata on Sunday, December 3 at 3pm
  • Cookie Sale will be on Saturday. December 9. We are asking church members and friends to bake 3 batches of 3 dozen cookies each.
  • Caroling and Cocoa at 2pm on Saturday, December 9.
  • Youth shopping for adopted family and pizza on Sunday, December 10 at 4pm.
  • Dorcas Christmas Party on Thursday, December 14 at 11:30am. All women are invited to join us.
  • Need some Christmas Gifts and Stocking Stuffers. Apple Butter is still available at $6 for a pint.

 Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Jeremiah 33:14-16 • Isaiah 64:1-9 • Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 •
1 Corinthians 1:3-9 • Mark 13:24-37

Sermon: This Will Be a Sign to You.

This time of year, we see many signs that Christmas is coming. The large, illuminated Christmas decorations hang on light poles around town. The Santa Light Parade traveled by St. Peter’s and down 1st Street on Friday evening. Last Sunday a group of volunteers stayed after worship and transformed our sanctuary for Christmas.

Have you seen other signs that Christmas is coming? How many of those signs are religious in nature? How many of these signs try to get you to spend more money this holiday season? As people of faith, it is important to be able to discern which signs are from God and which are of this world. Sometimes it is easy, the signs that lead to a Black Friday or a Cyber Monday shopping spree are not from God. (Unless you are buying gifts for Operation Christmas.) Giving Tuesday encourages us to give to our favorite charitable organizations which may have more relevance to following Christ at Christmas. The Chrismon decorations on our trees bear signs and symbols of faith that can lead us to meditate about our faith.

Jeremiah 33:14-16 says:

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

The days are coming when God’s promises will be fulfilled. These are not the promises of consumerism, politicians or even our own desires. These are the promises of God for justice and righteousness.

Mark 13:24 begins with the words “But in those days,” There are signs that things will be changing. We are encouraged to keep watch for signs and respond. It is a bit like watching the sky for changes in the weather. When the clouds start to get dark, rain may begin to fall. If the sky turns greenish and the clouds spin, take cover, a severe thunderstorm or tornado is at hand. Ripples in a river are signs that alert us to changes in the current or submerged dangers. It is time to paddle one’s canoe in a different direction. Signs may cause us to take cover or change course.

But signs might be of happier times. Order forms for graduation announcements and senior pictures are signs that years of schooling will lead to graduation. Nice thick envelopes may be signs, party invitations or Christmas cards. The shepherds were given the sign of a baby in a manger when the angels spoke to them on the night when Jesus was born. These signs lead to the anticipation of a happy expected event.

Watching for signs, anticipation and expectation can leave a person stressed and exhausted. That is if we go it alone. Watching for signs needs a whole community of faithful people. In Mark 13:32-37, when the master left on a journey, he put all the servants in the household in charge. Each of them had their tasks to do, especially the door keeper. If the door keeper keeps watch and the others support him by doing their jobs, all should be well when the master returns.

Experiencing Christmas is wonderful if we do it together as a community of faith. One person cannot do it all by themselves no matter how hard he or she may try. The Holy Spirit is with us too as we prepare for Christmas and the expected arrival of the Christ child. Let us all experience the signs of Christmas together and do so with joy!

Prayer: May I keep a watch for the expected Jesus as the signs of Christmas appear. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list for a while, Mark’ s brother Billy, Delores W., Tyra, Freya, Vicki B., Barb Z., Jesse, Tammy. Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, John, Dixon’s great granddaughter, Ashlely and Cody, Garth, Linda, Tessa, Carl, Kimbra, Liz’s father, Dannie, Lathe, Marilyn, Kris, Lee Ann, Bob, Diane, Louise, Janet, Linda, Keetha, Lori’s mom Judy and all who are in need about which we do not know. If you know of anyone who would like a prayer shawl, please let us know.

Prayers for all the places in the world where there is war.