Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen 11-21-18

November 20, 2018

Dear Friends,

JOY . . . .  we know it when we see it.  But how to define JOY?  On Sunday, the children’s choir sang and I always feel joy watching the congregation watch the children sing!  I saw mom’s mouthing the words that they had rehearsed with their children.  There were grandparents there, just for this moment.  And that doesn’t count all of the adults who teach Sunday School, help with VBS, keep the nursery or have taken vows on behalf of these children when they were baptized.  It was joy that I saw in their eyes.

We are about to begin the Christian year all over again.  And remember what the Angels said to the shepherds when they showed up in the sky outside of Bethlehem?  “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”  [Luke 2:10-11]

In September, your Elders and Deacons agreed to think about how our congregation might embody Joy as one of the values towards which we work this year.  And, it seemed right to focus on that theme during Advent.

Joy can be exuberant, or quiet.  Joy is very different from “Ho, Ho, Ho!”  Joy does not mean the absence of suffering.  In fact, Joy is often intensified by some hardship or suffering.  In the season of Advent we remember that Joy is the outcome of a long period of longing and waiting and hoping.  Joy may not be where we begin.  But the good news of the Gospel assures us that Joy is where we will end.

I invite you to consider what brings you joy this Advent season.  Where do you find holy joy?  [if the answer is “what is holy joy?” . . . .  then do I have a deal for you :)!]  I find joy when I am with the good people of this faith community.  And I find joy in seeing how people here are both engaged in caring for one another and for those in need.  What brings you Joy?!  What is stopping you from doing that . . . .  today?

If you are not sure, then try this . . .   pick an “elf” off of the trees at FLPC and buy Christmas presents for a child who won’t have much or anything unless we help.  This year we have added 20 elves for “unaccompanied minors” in Richland School District 2.  And “unaccompanied minor” is a teenager who has NO guardian or parent.  They may be living with a friend, in their car or in some other temporary arrangement, but there is no parent to check homework or make dinner.  Here is a ready-made invitation to Joy – be a part of helping one of these children or teenagers!

Please accept my invitation to participate in Advent 2018 at Forest Lake Presbyterian Church.  We invite you to consider JOY your theme for the next five weeks!

See you in Worship!

Ellen Fowler Skidmore



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