Welcome to Chapel Hill UMC in Farmers Branch , TX
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
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Pastor’s Message: Dec. 21, 2020

Friends, I first want to touch on a few housekeeping matters. Please remember that as we gather for Christmas Eve at 5 pm, we are asking everyone to enter through the door off Myra Lane by the Prayer Garden. You will then enter the courtyard through the Cokesbury Hub room. Christmas Eve Worship will also stream at 7 pm on Facebook Live and our YouTube Channel, CHUMC FarmersBranch. Our Christmas Eve offering is for Metrocrest Services to help with their ever-expanding requests for aid in the midst of the pandemic.

If you need to drop blankets and children’s gloves and hats for the Giving Tree, that can be done between 8:30 am to 3:15 pm through Wednesday of this week. As it turns out, holiday vacation and the pandemic make it so we will likely be closed next week. If you are unable to deliver your items this week, we can make other arrangements for drop off. You can contact me by email or cell phone to make those arrangements or in the case of an emergency.

Finally, it is now Monday, December 21, which is the longest night of the year. This is traditionally a day in which we seek to provide some comfort to those who are struggling with grief which becomes more pronounced during the holiday season. If you have suffered the loss of a dear loved one you may feel like Job, “For my sighing comes like bread, and my groanings are poured out like water.” The coming Christmas season is about hope, love, joy, and peace. But our grief can make these gifts from God seem so far away. What feels near is our sighings and groanings. We are the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge. We have never despised Christmas. It is simply now accompanied by such pain as we can no longer gather with our beloved in the flesh.

Yet there is hope in our grief, even in the holidays. Christmas is about arrival. It is a reminder that Jesus, whose birth and pending return we celebrate on Christmas Eve is God with us. God is with us in our sighings and groanings. It is a reminder of the coming Reign of God on earth as it is in heaven in which suffering will be no more.

And, perhaps, Christmas Eve Communion may provide some comfort. You have heard me say before that remembrance in Holy Communion is about much more than intellectually remembering what we are told about Jesus and the Last Supper. Remembrance in Greek pointed to a spiritual reality which suggests when we receive Holy Communion we find ourselves in the presence of Christ, all others around the world gathering around the table, and all the saints who have gone before us. While this is not the same as having our loved ones with us in the flesh during the holidays, we can find some comfort that they are by our side at God’s table in that sacramental moment.

As you receive the sacrament on Christmas Eve, whether virtually or in person, close your eyes and feel the presence of Jesus the Christ, the first disciples, and your loved ones. They may be gone for now. But the good news is they are not lost.

Grace and peace,

Rev. J.D. Allen
Senior Pastor

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I wish above all things that you may know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for you.