Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose…
––Christmas Favorites

Dear Friends,

One week before Christmas. Amazing. Life continues to fly by. This has been an especially meaningful season for me, what with all the concerts, programs and celebrations, not to mention all the warm friendships Pam and I have with all of you. We’re looking forward to having our family down from Maine for Christmas Day. Joann was planning to fly up but decided against it due to an impending knee surgery. Good call I think. Between the potential for ice and snow and the stairs to climb to her bedroom, she would likely have had a hard time navigating. We’ll miss her, but it was certainly the right decision. She sends her love.

Sunday is the fourth of Advent. Next Tuesday is Christmas eve. We’ll be having our traditional 4:30 Family and 8:00 Candlelight services. Then on the 29th, a simple, informal service including a hymn sing and a conversational sermon another service that has become sort of traditional. My conversational sermons always remind me of the old Car Talk show with Tom and Ray Magliozzi. They always did a piece on the show that they called “Stump the Chumps.” You might want to think of a good theological puzzler for the 29th; see if you can “Stump the Pastor.” Shouldn’t be too difficult.

As I look back at this last year, I’m grateful to all of you for our wonderful church, for all the many ways in which you reach out to those in need and for the grace and good humor that are the hallmarks of the spirit we share. I wish you all a warm and wonderful Christmas and a blessed, healthy and productive New Year. You are all beloved children of God and loved and appreciated by your pastor.

A couple of announcements: My next Pastor’s Classes will begin on Tuesday and Wednesday, January 14th and 15th. I’ve decided to use a book by Lawrence Kushner called God Was In This Place, & I, I Did Not Know: Finding Self, Spirituality and Ultimate Meaning. This is one of the best spiritual/biblical books I’ve ever come across. It looks at the story of Jacob’s Ladder from the perspective of seven different Jewish spiritual traditions. Rabbi Lawrence Kushner (not to be confused with the Rabbi Kushner who wrote “When Bad Things Happen to Good People. That was Harold) writes beautifully and engagingly in ways that will deepen your understanding of your relationship with yourself and God. I hope you’ll plan to come, but I’d encourage you to read the book even if you don’t.

Finally, sadly, some of you are still getting bogus emails with my name on them. Please be careful! If you receive an email message that says it is from me, check the “From” address carefully. Do not open any attachments unless you are certain I sent it. I do not have an “e” on the end of my name! The only address I am using for church business these days is revkpleas508@gmail.com. I am no longer monitoring my old fccmanchester account, so if you’ve not heard back from me, that may be why.

I wish all of you, all the best of Christmas blessings,
Rev. Kevin

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