The Messenger – December 2021

Dear Church Family and Friends,

This Advent season our theme is “Faith over Fear”. It seems that ever since the start of the pandemic, people have lived in fear. They have let their fear drive every decision they make in their lives. They are constantly looking for a sign that it will come to an end. They keep tabs on the daily news, the Covid positive count and the deaths attributed do it. They allow the fear of contracting Covid influence where and when to go. Whether it’s shopping or a local event or even attending church. Granted a lot of these decisions are regulated by our government the CDC and the mindset of those around us. Still, it seems like people are losing faith that this pandemic, this mindset will never come to a close. It seems everyone is looking for a sign a Savior to restore life to normal.

As I was preparing a message for one of our Advent Sundays and thinking about the signs, we are given that should bring us hope and “Faith over Fear”, I read again the words from Isaiah 7:14.

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.”

Have you ever had a hard decision to make and asked God to give you a sign? For most people, we rarely get the bold skywriting from God that we would like to have regarding our next steps. Instead, we often have indicators that are more subtle—a verse from God’s Word, wise advice from a trusted friend, or circumstantial evidence. The people of Israel had been promised a Messiah, a savior for God’s people, for so long. Year after year they waited, until finally they were losing faith. But throughout the more than four hundred years they waited on the arrival of Jesus, God never forgot his people or his promise to them. Speaking these words from today’s verse through the prophet Isaiah, God clearly outlined the birth of his Son to a virgin. It’s no coincidence that this name, Immanuel, means “God with us.”

Christmas often gets so defined by its commercial, decorative aspects that we overlook it as a celebration of God keeping his promise. But like a loving parent dropping hints to a child eager to know what’s inside a present, God provides reminders of his generosity. He gave us the best, most perfect gift he was able to give. He allowed his Son Jesus to be born as a baby in a manger in a little, backwoods town called Bethlehem. Beneath all the bright lights and shiny tinsel, look for reminders that God is with you today—and every day.

As we once again enter this holiday season and look for a sign that will strengthen our faith, please pray with me. “Open my eyes, Lord, and open my heart so I can see the many ways you reveal yourself to me during this wonderful holiday season.”

Have a Merry Christmas! In His Service, Pastor Joe

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If Only…..

There are many of you … who think to yourselves: “If only I had been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby! I would have washed his linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!”

Yes, you would! You say that because you know how great Christ is, but if you had been there at that time, you would have done no better than the people of Bethlehem. … Why don’t you do it now? You have Christ in your neighbor. You ought to serve him, for what you do to your neighbor in need you do to the Lord Christ himself. —Martin Luther

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The Greatest Gift Giver

When we give each other Christmas presents in [God’s] name, let us remember that he has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans — and all that lives and moves upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused. And to save us from our own foolishness, from all our sins, he came down to earth and gave us himself. —Sigrid Undset

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Remember To Reach Out

For many people, the holidays bring sorrow, grief and stress. If you’re hurting, turn to Jesus and his power. Learn from the woman who, desperate to be healed, reached out to touch the edge of Jesus’ robe and was immediately cured. Sometimes we think our healing process will be so exhaustive that we hesitate to take the first step. Or we doubt that Jesus still performs miracles. Amid your pain, have you reached out? Have you dared to touch Jesus’ robe? He is there, waiting to say: “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34, NIV). —Julie Lee

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sunday School – 8:15 AM in the Community Building

Choir Practice Every Thursday at 1:00pm

You may reach Pastor Joe at 570-465-7303 or his cell #570-267-4570

Every Thursday Pastor Joe will be at the church from 2-4pm if you need him

Sunday, December 5thSecond Sunday in Advent

Wednesday, December 8thCemetery Trustee Meeting - 9am

Thursday, December 9th Presbyterian Women Christmas Party - 11am, Please bring a dish to share.

Sunday, December 12th - Third Sunday in Advent

Wednesday, December 15thMen's Action Group Meeting and Breakfast - 8am

Sunday, December 19thFourth Sunday in Advent

Tuesday, December 21stSession Meeting – 9am

Tuesday, December 21stFirst Day of Winter

Friday, December 24thChristmas Eve Candlelight Service – 7pm

Saturday, December 25thMERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 28thNewsletter Deadline

Friday, December 31stNew Year's Eve / Watch Night

Feed-A-Friend – We received $760 in donations, which was sent to Trehab. Thank you to all!

Bill's Kids – Monetary Donations are being collected until Sunday, December 5th.

Please sign up to host one of the social hours on the Sunday after Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month. Hosting only means setting out what is brought and cleaning up afterward. It does not mean bringing everything to share.

The Presbyterian Women met Thursday Nov. 11. Debbie Stalker led us in devotions. Election of officers was held and the following ladies will be leading us beginning January 2022. President – Gwen Pope, Vice President – Julie Grey, Secretary – Deb Stalker, Treasurer – Carolyn White       Upcoming events are the annual Christmas Tea at the Montrose Bible Conference to be held Dec. 7th, at 11:00, followed by the Annual Christmas party here in the Hill, Dec. 9th. W e will meet at 11 to exchange gifts and reveal Secret Sisters, followed by a covered dish lunch. All women are welcomed at both events, but let Bonne know in advance so a place at the table can be set for you!

The cemetery has been green and beautiful all summer due to the frequent rains. Normally we can back off on the mowing in July and August, but not this year. As a consequence, our mowing expenses have exceeded our plans, If you would like to make a contribution to help cover these costs, please send a check made out to: The Franklin Hill Cemetery Association c/o Marcia Perkins, treasurer,  995 Liberty Park Road, Hallstead, PA 18822. Thank you. Jim Perkins, president.

We will attempt to have church cancellations due to weather announced over WPEL 96.5.   We will send e-mails of cancellation also, but there is always the chance that your internet may be down.

The Franklin Hill Church Community Building will be available as a warming station if you lose your heating this winter.  This is not a shelter providing cots and food.  You will need to bring your own supplies.  The building is supported with a back-up generator to keep the light and heat on.  See and Elder to let you in.

The PW is selling Franklin Hill Presbyterian Cookbooks called “Recipes From The Hill” at $10.00 each. All proceeds go to missions. We still have a few left if you like to purchase one. They make a great Christmas gift. See Debbie Stalker.

Don't forget to check out our Website – we now have a Donate Button through PayPal – just click on the button on the home page and make your donation!

Don't Forget to check your mailbox as you enter the vestibule on the wall to the left.

Plastic Grocery Bags – Please give bags to Bonne Travis – these are used to crochet sleep mats for the homeless.


 

 

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