Midweek Message

December 23. 2014

Jim Hopkins

December 23, 2014

It is likely that the themes of gifts and gifting figure prominently in our minds as Christmas approaches. Jesus is God’s gift to humanity. In recognition of this gift we give gifts to one another. In the services and programs of our congregation we see that there are tremendously gifted individuals all around us who gift us with their talents and abilities. I am humbled and grateful to be part of such a gifted community.
Certainly the gifts of many were on display this weekend as we caroled, as we worshiped, as the Children performed, as the Adopt A Family gifts were prepared and as the Grief and Loss Ministry offered the Blue Christmas Service. Certainly those gifts will be on display again as we gather in worship on Christmas Eve and on the last Sunday of the year.
My sermon on Christmas Eve will be taken from Luke 2:8-20 and will be titled “The Power of Pondering.” Verse 19 reads, “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” Pondering is more than thinking about, it is taking to heart, it is giving words and deeds their appropriate weight, their appropriate gravity. With Mary we are invited to ponder the meaning of the angels song and the shepherds rush to the manger.
On Sunday Chuck Johnston, our Minster in Training will preach from John 1:1-18 and will invite us to ponder the significance of the Incarnation. Our traditional “Medley of Carols” will also shape the service.
May you all know the Deep Peace of Christmas.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Irene Jennings – Back home at Piedmont Gardens after a stay at Alta Bates Hospital
  • George Lee for his neighbor Liquan Na
  • Jim Gettle-A visitor from Arkansas as he begins chemotherapy at UCSF
  • Phil and Gloria Meads for June, Billy, Deanna and Jean
  • Marian Ott as she recuperates from a fall
  • Bjoe Morris as he again searches for housing
  • Tyrone Mack for his landlord, Mrs. Moore
  • Doris and Ted Evans for their daugther Charlotte and for the Leche and Edwards families
  • Larry Sims for his sister Rene
  • Sydney Webster for her daughter Gigi who has been ill
  • Katrina  Lau for her dad who has returned home after being hospitalized
  • Sheryl  and Dave Gattey for their nephew Phil and family
  • All who are traveling
  • Marcos Soares as he mourns the death of Spike, for eight years his pet  lizard
  • The Piedmont Gardens and Grand Lake Gardens communities
  • The grieving families of Wenjan Liu and Rafael Ramos, the slain New York City police officers, and the city of New York in a tense time
  • All people of the world who are fleeing war, famine and oppression
  • Thanksgiving with Charlene and Jerry Wolf that Jerry is recuperating well from knee surgery
  • Thanksgiving with Bill (former Interim Pastor of LABC) and Mary Herzog on the birth of their first grandchild
  • Thanksgiving with Myra Saxton and Lucille Riggins that their fire damaged home is now ready for their return and with Lucille on her 98th birthday (December 22)
  • Our many mission partners
  • Our shut-ins and their families

Christmas Eve Worship begins at 7:30 (Stan’s Prelude begins at 7:15)