Time to prepare…

With Halloween behind us, and temperatures consistently below freezing, it seems a little easier to believe that it in fact time to prepare for Christmas and all that comes with it. Yes, Thanksgiving does come first, and I don’t want to rush through a month of gratitude. The reality for us, though, is we’ve got just four sessions of Sunday School left before the Christmas Pageant, so pageant preparations have already begun. We’ll be practicing and taking pictures with classes during Sunday School. Of course, in the midst of it, we’ll be remembering and reminding each other what it’s all about, why all the preparations? Why the anticipation? What the excitement? We are celebrating that light came into darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. We are celebrating that God came into the world, a baby, to shepherds and Wise Folk. We are celebrating that, just as the innkeeper, we have the chance to make rooms in our lives for LOVE.

 

And, if you want to practice at home – we’ve got a parent guide and lyric sheets available at church, and here is a link to a youtube channel with practice videos:

Pageant Rehearsal Videos

 

Grateful

We’ve had a full and good start to the 2019 year – from adventures away (bouldering with the youth, winter retreat with all ages), to celebrating and connection at home (infant recognition, young family dinner, and the return of Minnehaha Wednesday Nights). We’ve reflected on what a means to be a good neighbor, and honed in on the words of our peace prayer using American Sign Language. And, as we plan the rest of the year, we continue to think about this balance.
How do we grow connections within our community, how do we help  our children to grow while also looking beyond our comfort, beyond our walls to form connections and work for peace in the larger world?
We’ll work on this as we focus this winter on sexuality education: with an event for third through eighth graders at the end of February, and a parent night for parents of young children in March.
We’ll work on this as we welcome the Daud family to share about their trip to Somalia, and begin to work out the details of our Urban Bound Youth Mission experience.
We’ll work on this as we gather for Sunday School and Wednesday Night programming, as we worship, as we visit.
We’re grateful you are a part of this community, of this work, and look forward to seeking, serving, and celebrating together.

Advent begins…

And, just like that, Advent is here. At Minnehaha, that means Christmas Pageant preparations are under way, the Advent Wreath is set, plans are being made for Christmas Eve services. At stores, it means holiday displays and sales are in full force. It coincides with our approach to the Winter Solstice – with nights getting longer and longer.

What does it mean in our homes? To our families? To our children?
Advent is the season of waiting – of anticipation and reflection. As we move closer to Christmas, to celebrating the birth of Jesus, we’re reminded of the intense need for hope, peace, joy, and love. We’re reminded how much we need light in the darkness. So, how can make space in our busy days to nurture – in ourselves & others – hope and wonder?
We hope that some of our offerings at Minnehaha this Advent will help you with this challenge. I encourage you to carefully peruse the opportunities this month at Minnehaha to seek, serve, and celebrate: opportunities to pause together amidst the chaos (wonderful as it may be) of this time of year to bring light to the world.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5

Letting Go…In Gratitude

Folks that have been around Minnehaha this past month might have noticed me hobbling around. One misstep while out enjoying a beautiful autumnal day landed me in the ER with a dislocated ankle, and six weeks in a boot (hopefully no more). It’s been good to look to the trees in inspiration: to see the power and the beauty in their letting go. Those leaves which nourished the trees throughout the summer are released to the ground, are beautiful falling to the ground, return to the earth to continue to nourish. The trees must let go of them. It’s part of their life cycle, it’s what allows them to survive.

There are things in our lives that nourish us in one season, but might need to be let go off in another. There are things that we must let go of in order to survive and thrive. Being forced to slow down makes this reality more stark. When hands are needed for crutches, they simply cannot keep as many balls juggling in the air. So, I am grateful for people who remind me that it’s okay to let some drop. I am grateful for the inspiration of the trees. I am also grateful for the compassion and generosity of people who take on new tasks or share in responsibilities. It’s what being a part of a community is all about.

So, as we move into a new month, I hope that you & your families find moments for gratitude, and for clarity in what things can be let go of as you continually move into a new season.  I hope that Minnehaha is a place where you find – with grace – the courage to continually grow and change and nourish yourselves and others.