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Posts tagged ‘Advent’

Bah Humbug!


It’s that time of year again. “Bah Humbug!” declared Mr. Scrooge.
Our sermon today started on that same note.
See my poetic notes below.

Rev. Steve Hundley
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
12-6-20

“Here We Go…”

“Well, here we go again,”
The woman spoke with regret.
The Christmas season has arrived –
We must prepare lest we forget.

Prepare for peace on earth –
Prepare for goodwill toward men.
But will we feel the peace?
Will there be good will again?

This year seems so very strange.
It’s hard to enter with trust
The coming of the Christ Child.
But trust and hope we must!!

God’s chosen people felt
The same worn-out feeling of despair.
They wee caught in the wilderness,
Feeling God was no longer there.

In this time of pandemic,
We’re tired of this quarantine.
The pain and struggles continue.
What does all this mean?

Are we caving in to hopelessness?
Can’t we remember God is good?
We must live hearing His promise
And believe He’ll save us as He said He would.

If we have ears to hear
And we have eyes to see,
Know God’s message, “Here we go anew,”
Is meant for you and me.

God has the power to get us out
Of this situation we’re in.
Believe! Have faith in God.
Carry His hope. Carry His light within.

Share that light with others.
Walk in His way and then you’ll know
The peace and trust Jesus brings.
“Here we go anew!” Let it glow.

Advent is about preparing room
For something new at our place.
So stay alert and wait with faith.
God is coming in Christ – Clear a space!

Amen

Our friend, Jim Forsberg, sang this beautiful song
today in church, accompanied by his guitar
(sung here by the marvelous Susan Boyle).
The words are so beautiful.
Be sure to click on that link and enjoy.

Prayer of Confession:
“Merciful God, always with us, always coming: We confess that we do not know how to prepare for Your Advent. We have forgotten how to hope in miracles; we have been distracted by the challenges of the past nine months. Forgive us, O God. Grant to us the simple wonder of the shepherds, the intelligent courage of the Magi, and the patient faith of Mary and Joseph that we may rediscover the good news of the child born for us. Amen”

Merry Christmas, my friends.
Happy Advent.
No “Bah Humbug” here!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I pray your Sunday was a lovely one.

Thanks for all your love-filled comments on the
“Dogs in Heaven?” post yesterday.
My friend, Fran appreciates all your prayers.

May your week be blessed indeed.
Bee well!!

Keeping Awake


Here is
Rev. Steve Hundley’s sermon
as recorded through the
poetic listening ears
of Jan Beekman
at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
Based on this scripture:
Mark 13:24-37

Steve Hundley and Jim Forsberg provided the music today, too.

Keeping Awake

Advent season begins today.
It was 2020 years ago
When the star shone bright
And shed its light on the baby below.

We must always be ready
For His return; don’t know when
He will come to take us
Home with Him. ‘Til then…

We can’t expect to be alert
Every second of every day.
God does expect us to rest.
“Keep awake 24-7” He did not say!

But in several scripture passages,
It does warn us, “Keep Awake!”
Be ready for the Master’s return.
We pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” for Heaven’s sake.

We can’t stay on tiptoe forever
Without the muscles starting to ache.
We can’t keep our eyes always open;
Expecting to do so is a mistake.

God’s not telling us to forego
The rest He knows we need.
He’s just telling us to always care
About His return – Show it with each deed.
❤ ❤ ❤
“Bee” ready for His coming!

Don’t say goodbye to Thanksgiving too soon!
Keep that Attitude of Gratitude in your heart every day!
Thanks for visiting
JanBeek

See ya tomorrow.

Give Cheerfully


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2 Corinthians 9:7

“Each of you should give
what you have decided to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.”

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I give cheerfully
Not out of obligation
But from abundance

I am richly blessed
So I can be a blessing
I give cheerfully

You are richly blessed
Your needs are taken care of
Reach out to others

You give cheerfully
Out of a generous heart
And God blessed you

Thank You!

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Have a blessed first Sunday in Advent!
It is a season of HOPE and ANTICIPATION.
I pray your season be filled with love and generosity.

Do you have a child or grandchild in your family who would love to see this video explaining the meaning of Advent? If so, pass this along. It’s wonderfully kid friendly… and a good way to begin the season of gifts and giving.

Before I go, let me give a gift to you:
The gift of music by Laura Story…
The blessing of faith in the “what ifs” of life…

God bless You!
See ya tomorrow.

Hugs from
JanBeek

Sunday before Christmas


Time for kids and joy
It’s Sunday before Christmas
Church and friends and love

The sanctuary
Is ready for the people
The Son waits with us

Fifth Advent candle
Waits with us for Christmas Day
Hope, love, joy, and peace

All are brightly lit
But not the center candle
It represents Christ

Flowers decorate
The stairs to the church’s front
Poinsettias tell all

Kathy and Jaime
Beautifully play the songs
That ring in Christmas

Ruby, Cassidy and Cord

The smiles of children
Remind is of the Christ Child
Whose birth we await

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

Today’s sermon was told by Elaine Hundley, in her husband Rev. Steve Hundley’s absence. The sermon focused on Joseph, the baby Jesus’ earthly father.

We pray for Steve as he sits at his dying mother’s bedside way over on the other side of the USA. We pray for Elaine who is experiencing her first Christmas apart from Steve in 42 years! She remained here to carry on Steve’s ministry in our church. God bless her!

I listened carefully to capture the message as Elaine delivered a sermon Steve had written some years ago. To understand the introduction, you need to know that Steve and Elaine are adoptive parents.

Here are my poetic renderings:

“Feeling Good About Christmas”

The adoption agency checked us out.
They made sure we were okay.
I wonder what God did to check out
Mary and Joseph to parent Jesus His way.

Joseph was a righteous man who
Believed the angel Gabriel who told:
“The baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”
So Joseph didn’t desert her – nor scold.

He took her to be his wife,
And ignored what might have been said
By the town folks as they gossiped.
He knew she was pure and had not “gone to bed.”

Joseph was a good man, a believer,
Who read and understood God’s grace.
He saw through the Holy Spirit’s lenses,
And was able to accept this Holy Child
from God’s Holy place.

May we, too, know the Christ Child
as God’s gift to us.
Amen!

Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent.
May the peace of Christ permeate your heart
and give you a peace-filled week.

Photo by Alexandro David on Pexels.com

Have a good Sunday night.
See ya tomorrow.

The Smallest Things


Winnie the Pooh said,
“Sometimes the smallest things
take up the most room in your heart.”

Photo by Inna Lesyk on Pexels.com

Yesterday at church, the smallest people there took up the largest place in my heart… and the hearts of the congregants. I didn’t have my camera with me to show you a picture of the “Terrific Tuesday” children who sang Christmas carols to the congregation and recited a memorized Bible verse into the microphone. But, you just have to imagine these three darlings along with five others ranging in age from 4 to 10 – – – singing and reciting praises to our Lord. It was glorious!

These are our darling Sunday School children
with the food they gathered to share
at the Food Bank in November

Ruby, Cord, and Hailey were joined by five others yesterday as they sang, “Father Abraham,” and “Silent Night,” and synced hand motions to “I’ve Got Peace Like a River”… Oh my! Every face in the church was bursting with God’s JOY as we watched these darling little ones.

The Klein family lit the Advent candles:
Week One – Hope
Week Two – Peace
Week Three – Joy

Elaine Hundley, our Pastor Steve’s wife, delivered the sermon. Steve is off in Virginia at his mom’s side as she lies dying. As we pray for Steve and his mom, Faye, our congregation also is mourning the death of Reverend Jean Johnson, who died after a difficult surgery and related difficulties. She had been the pastor here in the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church for 32 years.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know I take notes in poetry as I listen and internalize the sermon. Elaine called her sermon, “Second Chances” as she talked about Zechariah’s muteness due to unbelief – and the second chance he received after acknowledging his baby boy’s name is John. In my notes, I focused more on the message to Mary – and her response to Gabriel and to God. Here is what I wrote as I discerned the message yesterday. I called it Believe and Trust:

Based on Luke 1:26-56

Think about Gabriel’s messages
To Zechariah and to Mary.
He told each their child’s name
And spoke as if a voice from a fairy.

Zechariah was a priest and he
Should have believed the voice.
But he doubted – and became mute.
Like Zechariah, we have a choice.

We can believe as Mary did,
Or doubt as Zechariah chose to do.
The result of Mary’s faith
Was rich in blessings. So it is with you.

When God speaks to us, we know
Blessings are ours – if we trust.
Through faith, we are free to rejoice;
We are free to believe – We must!

Mary’s song speaks as if God
Already has done what He said.
She praises the gift of His Son.
She didn’t look on her fate with dread.

Sometimes, like Mary, we face unknowns.
Like her, we are called to accept
The challenges God gives us as gifts.
Know God’s in charge, so have no regrets.

Christmas is a season in which, as we light the Advent candle – there is a new focus each week. We await the birth of the Christ Child with a focus on JOY this week. I pray you find JOY in this day – and project nothing but HOPE, PEACE and JOY to all you meet.

As Pooh said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” What’s taking up room in your heart today?

Look for the smallest ways to believe, trust, and spread the Good News! Wheeee!! Take JOY into your heart! (It’s no small thing.)

Photo by Kevin Bidwell on Pexels.com

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
I hope it brought you JOY today.
See ya later.

Come to Us


I have a dear friend in California who is sending inspirational scripture with music and devotionals each day during this season of Advent. Today she sent a link to a song that started my day with a smile.

I hope it makes you smile, too.

The song, composed in the minor key, is perfect for this season.
Do you know it? The choir and soloists are superb:

“Come to set us free, come to make us your own.
Come to show the way to your people, your chosen.
Open our lives to the light of your promise.
Come to our hearts with healing, come to our minds with power,
come to us and bring us your life.”

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

You can click on this link and hear it if you like:
http://catholichymn.blogspot.com/2015/11/come-to-set-us-free.html

For me, Advent is the season of Adventure – a season of reaching out to others in love while we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child each Christmas.

I know many of my readers are people of other faiths, and I respect your right to worship the One God in your chosen way. But, I hope you feel a sense of greater love, more generous giving, and the promised peace during this holiday time of the year. I hope the drama, the stress, and the conflict are minimized in your life… and you can find JOY in the hustle and bustle of the season.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Gracious God,
Be with my Word Press friends this season.
Bring them JOY and PEACE.
Help them live with compassion
and reach out in love.
In His name I pray,
Amen.

See ya later!

What Were/Are You Expecting?


Happy Second Sunday of Advent, my friends!
It’s the Sunday devoted to the subject of JOY.

Last year at this time, as I looked forward to Christmas and New Years, I was thinking about what to give for presents. I also gave thought to what I was wishing for… what I was expecting for Christmas and for the year to come. I posted this wish for 2019:

Did I expect my wishes to come true?
You bet!

Joyfully, I can report that we have been blessed with good health and a wealth of friends and loving family, and blissful days. Not EVERY day was perfect, of course, – we all face challenges from time to time – but I am eternally thankful – daily for the JOY and peace and the love that are mine.

And now we are back in that holiday season again – looking forward to Christmas and the new year. As a congregation of worshipers, we all were drawn into that expectant mood today.

Here are my sermon notes. (If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know I take notes poetically as I listen to the sermon each Sunday.)

Today in church, Pastor Steve Hundley’s message was titled,
“What Are You Expecting?”

What are you expecting for Christmas?
Reindeer on your rooftop or Santa Claus
Coming down your chimney?
Better reset your sights because…

Clyde came dressed up as Santa.
He was a crusty old guy,
And he looked like Ghandi.
But the problem was, he was high.

Clyde was high on Moonshine.
He was a jolly old soul,
But I was not impressed.
Clyde was far from my expected goal.

I was expecting the real Santa,
And I knew Clyde wasn’t he.
Like expectations of Santa,
The world is waiting expectantly…

For the birth of a Savior King,
And instead here comes a baby,
Born in a lowly stable.
He’s not the King He’s s’posed to be!

John the Baptist predeicted
The coming of this Royal King.
He spoke of confession and judgement.
He told the world about everything…

God’s prophets of old had proclaimed,
“A Savior of Priestly stock would come.”
John was so convincing, folks thought
He might in fact be God’s promised Son.

But John assured them Jesus was
The Savior King they’d waited for.
Even though Jesus was loving and kind,
Not the Leader with sword. They wanted more…

More of what they had expected.
“Are you really the One?” they inquired.
“Don’t look elsewhere; just see what I’ve done –
Go,” Jesus said. “Go and be inspired.”

Jesus reminded them that He was
Indeed doing what Isaiah said:
“The blind will see; the deaf shall hear;
The lame will walk. Believe I AM Christ.
GOD IS NOT DEAD!”

This quote by Dale Evans is worth repeating!

Have a Wonderful Sunday!
I hope you are expecting the Risen Christ!
He’s coming again, you know.

Merry Christmas!
See ya tomorrow.

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