Pastor's Paragraph for December 23, 2018
DECEMBER 23, 2018
This is the season when we usher in tidings of comfort and joy. And when I think of comfort, I think of tea with milk and honey, a cozy chair, and a soft blanket—like the prayer shawl that the knitters from Camp Hill UMC’s Sheltering Arms ministry blessed me with when I first arrived to serve as a pastor in this community in 2016.
I learned this week that I am not alone in my gratitude for this generous gift both of warmth and prayer. Since the genesis of the Sheltering Arms ministry in 2006, the knitters have brought comfort and joy to 710 people!
Yes, you read that number correctly! Those 710 people include many who have lost loved ones, who are experiencing illness, who are new parents, who are struggling with addiction, who are in distressed relationships, who are simply experiencing some of the many struggles that make joy difficult to find—even and especially in such a festive season.
And so, today, I give thanks, for Ann Huff and Elizabeth Piatt and for the many others who have participated in the Sheltering Arms ministry—taking the time to notice the people who are most in need of comfort and joy when it is so easy, especially at this time of year, to become willingly blind to those needs.
As we meditate today on the voice of Mary, I give thanks that as we serve one another, we serve a God who “shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next….” As we take final steps this week toward the manger and a God who came to be with us—suffering with us, comforting us—I pray that God will continue to open my eyes and the eyes of our church to neighbors and friends, family and strangers who are hoping to find comfort and joy. And as we wait for Christ to come in all God’s fullness, may we be the answer to those prayers today.
Advent grace and peace to you,
Pastor Anna Layman Knox
Lead Associate Pastor