Pastor Mark’s eNote – School Days Are Upon Us. . . But First, Christmas

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     August 6 promises to be a big day at HMUMC as we mark the start of a new school year with our third annual “Blessing of the Backpacks.”  Invite every student you know to bring their book bag with them to church.  We’ll give them a Hamilton Mill UMC cross for their bag, and, more importantly, we’ll pray for all of our students and parents as they start a new year.
     Be sure to invite every teacher you know as well, along with every other school worker.  We want to pray for them, too, and honor them with a brief reception after each service.  Their work is challenging and their calling holy.  They need our prayers and deserve our gratitude.  Let’s offer both.
     Of course, all of that is still a week away, so lest we put the sleigh before the reindeer, let’s remember what every student and teacher knows so well: You can’t return to school without first celebrating Christmas.
     OK, maybe they DON’T know that.  In fact, I don’t think anyone actually claims such a thing, but THIS year, it’s true.  This Sunday we’re celebrating “Christmas in July.”
     There was a time when I would have considered such a sermon title and a worship theme gimmicky and beneath me.  Now?  I still consider it gimmicky, but it’s no longer beneath me.
     In fact, it makes all the sense in the world.  Over the past month or so, we have been talking about “Good News.”  What better way to wrap up the series than with “the good news of great joy that shall be for all the people”?  Before school starts, we’ll take one more trip–this one to a field outside Bethlehem, where we will meet up with some angels and shepherds in the moment that changed all time.
     So, while the parents among us are making sure our students’ inoculations are up to date, let’s all add one more–a Christmas Spirit booster shot.  I don’t know about you, but I’m due.
In Christ,
Mark Westmoreland
Author: Mark Westmoreland

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