As you well know, this Advent season find us in unprecedented times, the culmination of an unprecedented year. As the COVID-19 pandemic, racial tensions, a contentious presidential election, and so much more has knocked us all off-kilter throughout 2020 it’s more than time for a little stillness.
A still Christmas. A time to allow ourselves to resonate even more deeply than usual with the traditional themes of the season: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
As these strange new realities are creating a holiday season that is far from our “normal” realities of the season, you may be wondering, How do we do this? How can we celebrate the season when we can’t even be together with the ones we love? Without the crowded shopping malls, the caroling, the packed First Church Sanctuary, the parties, and our favorite family traditions?
Just remember: it may look and feel different, but It’s Still Christmas — at First Church, across the nation, and around the world.
And, as we spend extra time this Advent season reflecting on the timeless themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, I invite you also to consider how you can help bring these cherished feelings to those we serve through our outreach ministries. Now more than ever, your generous contribution to our annual Christmas offering will make you part of the good we’re doing in these times to serve those in need, including:
- Kids Hope USA — providing mentors who volunteer one hour each week to at-risk children at T.A. Sims and Charles Nash Elementary Schools
- First Street Methodist Mission Rental Assistance — providing assistance to families who have been financially impacted by COVID.
- United Community Centers — providing enrichment experiences for children in partnership with United Community Centers’ Summer Program.
- Providence Place (formerly Methodist Mission Home) — placing children in loving adoptive homes and assisting people who are deaf/hard of hearing or who have other disabilities to achieve independence.
- Methodist Children’s Home — serving 1,400 children and youth daily through residential foster care, transition services, and community based programs.
- Wesleyan Homes — creating affordable Retirement Living at many different levels of care to senior adults in the Central Texas Conference Ministry.
I know you will join me in gratitude for these vital ministries and all they will do, especially in these difficult times, to bring Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love to those in need in the coming year. Please make your Christmas offering now through December 25th online at fumcfw.org/givenow (choose Christmas Offering from the drop-down menu), via check (with “Christmas Offering” in your memo line).
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster