Weekly Reflection and News: December 19, 2019

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
-Matthew 1:18-25

I guess we just couldn’t wait any longer. Christmas isn’t until Tuesday of next week but this Sunday is Gospel lesson is Matthew’s account. We normally associate the Christmas story with Luke’s account with angels and shepherds but this is a different approach, a different lens through which to see it. It is more focused on prophecy and it begins Matthew’s striking parallels between Moses and Jesus. In the Spanish version used commonly around here, this passage begins with the phrase “the origin of Jesus Christ“ which I find striking. What is the origin of anything? We might imagine that the origin of something creative is in the creative act, But such is just not the case. Every creative act takes place in a context built up over time. Jesus is indeed unique in human history, but he comes in a context built up over time. That context set us up to understand the event.

In fact, the context goes right back to the beginning. God creates the world, God creates humanity, humanity does OK for a little bit and then messes up, and God makes plans to re-create. The Christian understanding of the birth of Christ is the big beginning of that re-creation. So, just as Moses marks the beginning of the Jewish people, the coming of Jesus Marks the beginning of the Christian people. This is of concern to Matthew and the community for whom he writes because they were Jewish Christians under persecution. It helps him understand that the Jewish past they carry with them is not lost in Christ.
And neither is ours. We come to Christmas out of a context. That context is important, for in it we see that God has been getting closer to us over many years. What we celebrate it Christmas is the focus of that great advance, The actual arrival of the one who is God in human flesh. If Jesus is God in human flesh, in Jesus all human contacts are caught up in God, even yours and mine.

The name “Emmanuel” means God with us, but it also means “we with God”.

The Rev. Paul Moore
Priest at St. Paul’s (email)

Advent at the Border

Jose Rodriguez mural Praying at a section of the wall

Left: A mural of 16-year-old José Rodríguez memorializes him in Nogales, Mexico.
Right: A person praying along a section of the border wall cuts a line between Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico.

The Rev. Dr. Paul Moore attended the 2nd Annual Border Ministries Summit in Arizona two weeks ago. This trip was the inspiration for the “Advent at the Border” art display in our Narthex. Grab hold of Paul to hear more about his experience, and you can read more about the conference and the complex border issues here.

The art series displays four themes of Advent meditations for discussion. Each Bible verse and picture brings together the propers for the day and a story or theme from the Border Summit Conference in Arizona this past November. An underlying theme is sanctuary, broken down into:

  • Pilgrimage
  • Encountering the Foreigner
  • Refuge
  • Welcome

One for each of the Sundays in Advent…

Some questions to ponder:
Where and when do you feel you need refuge?
Where do you go?
To whom do you need to offer refuge in your life, and how can you do so?

Ways to get involved:

  • Donations to Deacon Babnew’s work can be made at: their website or their Amazon Wishlist.
  • Supplies for the young man in sanctuary at the Cathedral in Seattle.
  • Volunteering at a homeless shelter.
  • For more information, you can speak with The Rev. Dr. Paul Moore at (254) 368-6475 or email him.

    Advent Announcement
    Updated Saint Paul’s Directory for 2019!
    Hot off the press! Pick up a copy of the update from the counter in the Narthex.

    Magnificat: 2019 Advent Devotional Booklet
    St. Paul’s 2019 Advent Devotional series, Magnificat, is now available for your daily inspiration. In addition to reading the daily devotionals lovingly prepared by our very own congregation members, you can also view them on the St. Paul’s Facebook page. If you would like Magnificat to be delivered daily to your email inbox, you can sign-up link for the email HERE or email Jen at jennifer.e.mccabe@gmail.com. You can also download (and print) a PDF version of the entire devotional series, including a large print version, by clicking on the links: PDF version or Large print PDF version.

    Help Deck the Halls at St. Paul’s for Christmas!
    Memorial and Thanksgiving designations are being accepted from all who wish to remember loved ones or share thanksgivings in the bulletin for the Christmas services. The associated donations will be used to help offset the cost of flowers and decorations in the church during Advent and Christmas. Suggested donation $25.00, but all amounts will be gratefully accepted. Envelopes are available on the table in the Narthex and can be turned into the Church Office or into a collection plate. Designations turned in by Monday Morning, December 23, will be included in the Christmas bulletin.

    Emergency Preparedness
    St. Paul’s Emergency Preparedness Team has some information on what you can do and who you can call in the event of a power outage at your home. Volunteers are willing to drive and pick up anyone who would otherwise be able to due to poor conditions or night driving. Contact Sandy McDougall (alecsandym@gmail.com or 360-630-9405) for more information.

    Call first! All the volunteers will pick you up as needed.
    Alec & Sandy McDougall: (360)424-6510 or (360)630-9405 at 16387 Calhoun Rd. – Beds, 2 Queen & 2 – 4” pads.
    Andy & Bonnie Schuh: (949)735-9895 or (949)735-6289 at 405 S. 9th street – Beds 1 T & 1 D.
    Margie Lauer: (425)248-9336 – 23840 Nookachamp Hills Dr. – Bed 1 Q.
    Barbara Cheyney: (360)391-3899 – 2521 Stonebridge Way – Beds 2 T.
    You may call the McDougall’s 24/7.

    Safe Food without Electricity:
    A full refrigerator will maintain safe temperatures for up to 6 hours. A full freezer will maintain safe temperatures for 2 days, and a half full one for 1 day. Frozen foods that are still somewhat frozen are still safe. If in doubt, throw it out. The most potentially hazardous foods are meat, dairy products, eggs, soft cheeses, cooked, beans, potatoes, pasta, custards and puddings. Some food may not be hazardous but the quality may be affected; salad dressings, mayonnaise, produce, hard cheeses etc. Foods that are safe: ketchup, mustard, relishes, jams, peanut butter, barbecue sauces, bottled beverages etc.

    Gimme Shelter – A Tasty, Musical, Friend & Fund Raiser
    January 4, 2020 • 4:00PM – 10:00PM at Lincoln Theater, 712 S 1st St, Mt Vernon, WA. Come mingle and enjoy a night of musical fun, tasty treats & local art. To support our neighbors on our southern border*.
    *Proceeds To Benefit: Madre Assunta Shelter for Women and Children & Al Otro Lado Legal Services in Tijuana Mexico.

    Choir – TODAY!
    The next choir practice is Thursday, November 14, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

    Resurrección Posadas
    A great way to prepare for Christmas is through traditional Christmas Posadas o Novenas Navideñas. This series of celebrations has a duration of 9 days, beginning on December 16 and ends on Christmas Eve. It is to remind us of the trajectory that Mary and Joseph followed to find someone to give them shelter for the Messiah to be born. Come celebrate with Resurrección and click on this link for the current schedule or call Baudelina (360) 540-9917 for more questions.

    December 22, 2019
    8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
    Officiant: Pat Kostanich

    9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist
    Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
    Music Director: Pam Pryor
    E.M.: Penny Worrell
    E.V.: Bob Johnson
    Greeters: Bob & Sharon Johnson
    Lectors: Dan & Elizabeth Niven
    *Coffee Hour: The Schuh Family
    Counters: Sharon Johnson and Judy Thompson
    Sound: Ben Worrell
    Flowers: Ashley Sweeney

    E.M. is Eucharistic Minister.
    E.V. is Eucharistic Visitor.
    * Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.