St. Luke's United Methodist Church

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8:00, 9:30, & 11:00 a.m. - Traditional
9:30 and 11:00 a.m. - Contemporary

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4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road
Orlando, FL 32819
407.876.4991

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Blog Post from Pastor Jenn-November 29, 2018

Posted on November 29, 2018 at 4:56 pm in ,.

Dear Advent Heart Decorators,

As promised, we are ready to go get our tree this week! I know many people today opt for an artificial tree which is much more practical, but for me there’s nothing like a live tree. This will be the first year picking one without my girls, who are unable to come home for the weekend. It will be strange not to live into our family traditions: trying to look wintery (even when it’s 80 degrees), going to the same lot and listening to certain Harry Connick Jr. Christmas songs, taking at least two hours to pick the perfect tree, and then heading for peppermint milkshakes afterward! However, even if all the traditions can’t be followed, it’s the memories that last a lifetime. Just the smell of the Christmas tree lots takes me back to our moments, memories of childhood, and flashbacks to the three years I ran the youth ministry tree lot in Clermont. As Pastor Melissa shared in our Wednesday Advent Worship (6:00 p.m. in Founder’s Hall), smell is the strongest of the senses to bring back memories.

That’s just one reason we deck the halls of our worship spaces with evergreen. The scent is powerful, bringing back memories of worship, events, and family moments eternal in our hearts. But there are some other very symbolic reasons evergreens, garlands and trees are used during the Advent season. We begin our Advent series, Deck the Halls HEART, with understanding and considering the symbols of evergreen and holly. The prophet Jeremiah we studied last month speaks a word of promise when he writes I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the Land. In worship we will consider how these symbols connect with the Advent word of HOPE this first week. Sunday we will hear Scripture from John the Baptist in the gospel of Luke 21: 29-33As you read and prepare for worship this week individually or with your family, consider sharing memories of Christmas trees and wreaths and what those memories have meant in your life. As a part of your prayer time together I leave you the first and last verses of the carol “O Christmas Tree”:

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer’s here,
But also when ’tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!

What are you hoping for in your life? What hope does the world long for today? What hope are you seeking to be different as Christ is born anew in your hearts this Christmas? Join Pastor Melissa and me on Sunday as we consider the eternal promises of God’s hope in Christ. Until then, may the smells and signs of evergreen bring you comfort and floods of beautiful memories.

Grace and peace,

Jenn.

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