|Great Bend First United Methodist Church|
|Nativity set at Stafford UMC made by Dorothy Newell|
|Nativity set at Trinity UMC, Great Bend, KS|
|Holy Cross Catholic Church, Hutchinson|
But then I remember: Mary was likely 13 years old (or so). Maybe she wasn't so different from the girls in middle school choir, the ones I witness from the piano bench. Yes, the same ones who are are nice as pie one day and then moody and withdrawn the next. (Who am I kidding? You don't have to be 13 to be like that.)
Mary was a young, unwed mother. She was likely the talk of the town ... and not in a good way. She had just had her first baby, not in a well-appointed delivery room - but in a stable filled with smelly animals. She laid him in a manger filled with straw, not a crib with sheets that match a nursery theme. It wasn't all that pretty.
Jesus was born to a family that possessed little and worked hard to make ends meet.
How can we, in the midst of our culture's conspicuous consumption and demand for perfection, turn our focus on the Child who was born into poverty as a sign of hope and salvation for a broken world? While it may seem the world demands perfection, the Gospel message demands nothing from us. Rather, God invites us to gather around the manger just as we are: unfinished lists, burnt pies and all. No matter our imperfections, great or small, God invites us to peek into the manger and gaze at the real Christmas message: That Christ came for us all to be a beacon of hope for the hopeless and to bring peace.
Rev. Amy SlaterStafford UMC Newsletter, December 2012
|Scott City UMC|
So, when the list seems overwhelming ... and the oven timer dings at the same time the dryer bell sounds ... the packages don't have bows ... and there's too much to do in too little time: Remember it's not about perfection. It's about grace. And, it's about listening for God's voice in our lives and obeying, like Mary and Joseph did so long ago.
Merry Christmas from our Kansas farm to you and your family!
***Gifts don't have to cost a lot of money to be meaningful. I enjoy giving gifts from the kitchen to family, friends, the mailman, the choir director ... the list goes on!
Snack mixes take bits and pieces of ingredients and make a tasty treat. They can be something that your gift recipient can use for unexpected guests or at their own family gatherings. Here are a few tried-and-true recipes that we enjoy at our house and I've also given as gifts. Click on the links for the recipes and ENJOY!