“But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard...”- Luke 1:13a, NRSV
“Openness to God demands our growing acceptance that we cannot create blueprints for our own lives. Though God’s character is unchanging, the ways of God are unpredictable, and there is a difference between arbitrariness and unpredictability.” ? Enuma Okoro, Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent
As I write this message, I’m watching the snow fall softly on the ground in front of the parsonage. Earlier I had asked Heidi to give me a ride back to the parsonage because I had decided to walk to church this Thursday morning thinking that the weather forecast was just light snow. Clad in my trench coat, tweed jacket and short-sleeved white t-shirt, I looked like I was stepping out in spring weather, instead of winter. Is it really winter already? The Christmas season will soon be here, and I feel like I’m not ready. In retrospect, I always felt like this every year. Perhaps you feel the same way.
It seems to me that Zechariah was not ready for a new season in his life, either. It was too much to take, especially after years of waiting for God’s answer to his and Elizabeth’s prayers, with nothing except God’s silence and lack of a tangible result. But just when he was probably resigned to the fact that God didn’t hear his prayer, Gabriel came to him with this shocking news! Just when all hope seemed to be lost, God decided to grant him his request. He had learned the hard way that God’s timing and plan did not always coincide with his. Maybe it was good for him to be struck dumb for a season and quietly ponder why God waited so long to give them a child. Not the easiest thing to do, but Zechariah had no choice.
There are times in our lives, that we too, like Zechariah, are surprised by God! It’s usually good news, but at times, with the good news there’s some bad news. And like Zechariah, we have to wait and trust God. Unlike Zechariah, God may not intentionally render us speechless but it is not a bad idea to find time to be quiet, especially this season of Advent. Commercial Christmas cannot wait for Christmas to happen! We are lured and enticed to hurry and get to it, as early as October. But in order to recover the real meaning of Christmas, I am learning to slow down and be quiet in God’s presence. When I do this, I will eventually find the Christ of Christmas waiting for me, helping me to live with the surprises, the uncertainties and mysteries of life, with hope, even joy!
I imagine Zechariah went about his priestly and family duties as usual, but without the encumbrance of spoken words. He had the freedom to express his love for God, Elizabeth and their soon-to-be born son, with hands raised up in worship, a tender look, a gentle touch and a warm embrace. It must have been an interesting nine months of anticipation not just for the birth of John, but for the moment when God restored his speech that would give him the opportunity to share what he had heard from God during his time of silence. He will be able to tell God’s people that John, their new-born son, was not just an answer to his and Elizabeth’s prayers but to their prayers for a Savior. God was giving them John to prepare the way for the coming of God’s Son, Jesus. It was good news indeed, not just for their family but for all families of the world.
As we prepare for Christmas, we have the gift of the Advent to quietly listen to what God is saying to us in this season of our lives. May we make the time for prayer, reading and studying the Holy Scriptures and reflection, even as we go about our regular holiday preparations of finding that perfect tree, wrapping presents, baking cookies, collecting coats and toys, donating food to our Food pantry, and enjoying the Christmas spirit in our parties and gatherings. I encourage you to invite your friends and families to our Advent and Christmas Eve services, and our Christmas Cantata on Dec. 30, entitled, “Sing with the Angels.” This December, I will be sharing messages that angels gave to Zechariah, Mary, the Shepherds, and Joseph. I hope and pray that in our own lives we will be attentive to God’s message to us through angels, seen and unseen.
I also would like to take this opportunity to thank Pat, Ervin and Elijah Moore for their love and service to God and our CBC Family for many, many years. We will surely miss them when they finally leave Woodbury to settle in their new home in Virginia next year. May God’s peace, protection and blessings be with you in your continuing journey of faith and ministry.
May our God of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love be with you this Advent and Christmas! A Blessed Christmas to You and Yours, and a Joy-full New Year!
Yours in Christ’s Love,
DECEMBER Main Theme:One in Christ
Focus:The Power of God's Love
Opening Exercises: 9am
Sunday School Classes: 9:15am
Morning Worship Service: 10:30am
Praises for the 50 winter coats given to the Food Bank’s Jeannette’s Closet to help those that need them for the winter; Praises for all the Blessing Bags that went to the Veterans in Camden. Congratulations to Garrison Grant for his promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade, serving currently on The Thomas Jefferson in Norfolk, VA.; Congratulations to Catherine Taylor on being baptized in November!
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10am. to 2 pm. * Please contact Pastor for appointments at other hours as necessary.
If there is an EMERGENCY in your family or you know of a need please call at any time:
- Pastor Carla (610-659-0314)or Parsonage (856-579-4767)
- Heidi Louis, Moderator (856-371-8791)
- Pat Moore (856-430-0685)
The meeting started with a prayer led by Pastor Carla. The Council received reports followed by discussions on items presented. Highlights of some of the reports are as follows: The 2019 budget was presented to Council and will be put before the congregation at the Business Meeting on Dec. 2nd. Don Sanderson gave a report on AB Men. The men will be handing out candy canes after the Christmas Eve service. Over 50 coats were collected for the veterans. Ambassadorship/ABW committee reported that 50 blessing bags were assembled by the kids for the Veteran's Thanksgiving lunch. Julie Levy has agreed to take Ervin Moore's place on the Ambassadorship. Heather Tierney has created and purchased door hangers inviting the neighborhood to the Christmas Eve service and the Christmas cantata on Dec 30th. Stewardship committee informed council there has been some issues with the church's steam heater as well as the heater at the parsonage. Huge thanks to Bill Sutton for his expertise in fixing these issues. Pat Moore closed our meeting in prayer for the last time. We will sorely miss the Moore family!
Meet on Sunday, December 9th @ 7:30am at the Piston Diner. Any questions, please call Don @ 856-845-3959.
will meet December 12th, 7pm. at the home of Bill and Dot Sutton. This will be the only Bible study in December.
Please join us as we celebrate and honor Ervin, Pat and Elijah Moore before they move to their new home in Virginia on Sunday, December 16th immediately following our Morning Worship Service in the Lower Fellowship Hall. Please sign up on the board in the Narthex.
In order to help you keep up with recent announcements and the focus of our Worship Service, on any Sunday that you are unable to attend church, please feel free to contact any of us to send you a copy of the bulletin and any inserts that might have been included. Joan Moyer, Chair, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Corann Okorodudu, V. Chair: Email: email@example.com
The American Baptist Women will be collecting Hats, Scarves, Gloves and Mittens, for Infant to Adults. The Mitten Tree will be located in the hallway. You can bring in your donation and put them on the tree. Thank you for your continued support of those in need.
What could be more fun than cozying up with a good book in this Christmas Season? Come and visit our library and check out a book and give yourself a chance to sit and relax for an evening!
The Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries Food Bank, located at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on the corner of South Barber and Evergreen Avenues, is collecting for the Christmas Holidays. Please donate food and/or non-perishables to the Food Bank, and they will joyfully take them. The Food Bank is looking for turkeys, and especially all the trimmings, such as sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, canned green beans, applesauce, paper products, pickles, rolls, butter, salt, pepper, sugar, canned pumpkin, canned corn, cranberry sauce and more, all for a delicious Christmas Dinner. If you are able to purchase extra while out shopping, please bring to the Food Bank, from 9:30am to 11:30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Any questions please see Libby Sellen. Thank you!
PRAYER REQUESTS- Please do not hesitate to call with any requests for prayer. Contact Diane Bradley or the church office to start the Prayer Chain.
New and unwrapped toys for infant through teenager years are needed as well as Gifts for a Senior Citizens. Gift ideas for children, teens and seniors include toys, books, coloring books and crayons, gift cards, socks, sugar free candy, cookies/candy, body powder, scented soap, warm gloves, scarves, lap robes, slippers, and no skid slipper socks and anything else you might think of. Thank you!
The choir is adding the final touches to our Christmas Cantata, to be shared on worship on Sunday, December 30th. We are hoping you will all make an effort to invite someone(s) to worship on that day, to enjoy the beautiful music at a time when Christmas let-down may start to creep into your life. They will be glad you did!
The music of the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season is perhaps the best-known and most beloved of all music in the popular music repertoire. The following are provided for your musical edification and seasonal enjoyment. Can you name that tune?
- Singular yearning for twin anterior incisors
- Righteous darkness
- Loyal followers advance
- Weather: cloudless; arrival: 12 pm
- Far off in a bovine feeding trough
- Hail, coniferous yuletide symbol
- During the time ovine caretakers supervised their charges past midnight
- Array the corridor with berried evergreen branches
- Seraphim we aurally detected in the stratosphere _
- Monarchical triad
- First person singular human fantasizing about a blanched yuletide
- Shaking about the noel pine
- The chimes of yuletide were aurally received by me
- Youthful male percussionist
- Nocturnal noiselessness
- Father Christmas en route to borough
- Initial Christmas
- Quadruped with the vermillion proboscis
- Query regarding identity of descendant
- Delight for this planet
- Give attention to the melodious celestial beings _
- At the zenith of the habitat
- Endocarp vesicated in a conflagration
- Deity dulcify blithe chevaliers
- The dozen 24-hour intervals of a holiday festival
When my sister and I were growing up, the churches our family attended did not have Christmas Eve Worship Services. It was only when I started playing at the Methodist Church in Berlin that I experienced Christmas Eve Worship. Now, looking back over the 23 years since then, I realize that many of my fondest Christmas memories come from Christmas Eves in the churches we served. Consider inviting someone to our Worship Service on the 24th. What a lovely way to celebrate the beauty of the season.
Have fun… and a musically joyful Christmas celebration.
Boyd Fox, Music Director
We invite you to join us for this beautiful cantata presented by our Senior Choir during the Morning Worship service. Invite all your family and friends to hear this beautiful and lively music celebrating the Birth of our Lord and Savior.
We are continuing our Christmas Card Mail Service again this year. Just bring your Christmas cards or notes that you would normally mail to your Central Baptist Church family and friends and drop them into our “CBC Christmas Mailbox” that will be set-up in the Narthex starting December 2nd, 2018. This is a simple, inexpensive way of sending lots of cards out to family and friends who attend our church with no cost of buying a stamp. Consider it to be a Christmas card exchange!!! Each week the mail will be sorted and hand delivered to the person before or after the Sunday Worship Service.
CBC Family: Anyone interested in contributing financially towards the cost of snow removal for the upcoming winter for the church, please mark your envelope accordingly so that is goes into the correct fund. Thank you!!
The Decorating Committee is preparing our Lower Fellowship Hall for the hristmas Season. If you wish to order Christmas Poinsettias Plants, we will display them in the Lower Fellowship Hall. The insert order form will be in the Sunday Bulletin. Please mark an envelope Poinsettia Fund or give your cash/ check (made out to Central Baptist Church) to Roxanne Long. Thank you for helping to make our church beautiful and celebrate your family during this Christmas season. You can pick up your plant any time after our Christmas Eve Service.
It’s that time in the year when colds/ coughing/ sneezing are on the rise. To help fight against germs that cause these flair ups, the Worship Committee is asking for donations to restock the Wellness Kit located in the pews. Items needed are: hand sanitizer, hand wipes, tissues, cold lozenges, peppermints or a type of hard candy that can smooth the cough and throat.
For the Wellness Kits we asked that the items are the small personal size types due to the size of the kits. We will gladly accept large-size bottles of sanitizers and box of tissues for use in the Narthex, Lower Fellowship Hall and bathrooms.
We thank you in advance of your kind donation.
Do you remember the old ‘ring-around-the-collar’ commercial for dress shirts? (I think the product was Wisk.) I get my own ring each year about this time, but it’s not neck grime and it’s not around the collar – it’s holiday treats around my middle. The trouble is, one pound of extra food/treats becomes three or four pounds of animal fat! It just doesn’t seem fair.
I am going to try this new diet, in the hopes that my girth will not equal the circumference of the earth in January.
- The same color foods have the same number of calories, such as mushrooms and white chocolate.
- If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, you won’t gain any weight from it.
- If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are cancelled by the diet soda.
- Food used for mental/emotional well-being is not fattening: foods such as hot chocolate or mashed potatoes or vanilla milk shakes or fudge.
- Things licked off spoons have no calories if done in the process of food preparation.
- Cookie pieces contain no calories; the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
- When you are eating with someone else, your calories don’t count if you eat less than they do. And, when you fatten-up everyone else around you, you look thinner.
On the other hand, it is a festive time of year, so perhaps these guidelines should be considered:
- Avoid carrot and celery sticks. In fact, if they’re on the table, leave immediately and go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.
- Drink as much eggnog as you can, and quickly – it’s rare; you cannot find it any other time of year. Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-aholic!
- If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. It does not stand alone, it always comes with something. Pour it on. Make a volcano with your mashed potatoes, fill it with gravy, and eat. Then repeat.
- As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with butter and cream. If they’re not, why bother. It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
- Do not snack before going to a party, trying to curb your hunger. The whole point of going to a party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it!
- And, about fruit cake. Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory, celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. Really. Have some standards!
When I was a young mouse, Christmas was all about gifts. When the Mrs. and I were first married, the same held true. But, as I’ve aged, the words of my Pop Pop Elijah have become true: “Someday you’ll find that the most important things in life are not things.” After all, it’s not our birth we’re celebrating, it’s Jesus’ birth. And what he wants is for us to follow him, wherever that may lead.
Wishing you the joy of the Incarnate God at this holy time of year.
Chubby (your church-mouse-in-residence)
On December 30, our Senior Choir will be singing a Christmas Cantata entitled, “Sing with the Angels.” The English word, “angel” is a translation of the Greek word aggelos, which means “messenger.” In the Bible, God sends angels to bring messages to humans, help them and at times fight and protect them. Jesus’ birth involved angels and as a grown man, Jesus was served by angels after he was tempted by Satan and prevailed. Have you ever wondered what angels really are and how many angels are named in the Bible? I did a little search online and here are some facts that I have found.
- Angels are mentioned 273 times in the Bible.
- Angels were created by God. - “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.” (Genesis 2:1, NKJV) “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16, NIV)
- Angels were created to live for eternity. - Scripture tells us that angels do not experience death.“...nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:36, NKJV)
- Angels were present when God created the world.- When God created the foundations of the earth, the angels had already been in existence. “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: ‘...Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? ...while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?’" (Job 38:1-7, NIV)
- Angels are spiritual beings. - As spirit beings, angels do not have true physical bodies. “Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire.” (Psalm 104:4, NKJV)
- Angels are not meant to be worshiped. - Whenever angels are mistaken for God by humans and worshiped in the Bible, they are told not to do this. “And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10, NKJV)
- Angels are subject to Christ. They are Christ's servants. - “... who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” (1 Peter 3:22, NKJV)
- Angels are too numerous to count. - The Bible indicates that an incalculable number of angels exist. “The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands ... (Psalm 68:17, NIV) But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly ...” (Hebrews 12:22, NIV)
- Most angels remained faithful to God. - While some angels rebelled against God, the vast majority stayed faithful to him. “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’" (Revelation 5:11-12, NIV)
- Three angels have names in the Bible. - Only three angels are mentioned by name in the canonical books of the Bible: Gabriel, Michael, and the fallen angel Lucifer, or Satan. (Daniel 8:16; Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26) (Source: thoughtco.com)
In the midst of the busy holiday season, may we take the time to listen to the message of the angels announcing Christ’s birth and share this message with others. Let us invite family and friends to hear this joyful news once more not just this Christmas but in the coming New Year.
A BLESSED ADVENT AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!!
The Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering is a personal offering, one rooted in thanks for the countless ways ministers and missionaries guide each member of the church along their spiritual journey. It provides a tangible way for American Baptist Congregations to say “Thank you for…” the commitment, service and spiritual guidance of retired ministers, missionaries and their widowed spouses. This offering supports those who have devoted their lives to God’s service by providing emergency assistance in their times of need and, for those eligible, a “Thank You” check at the end of each year. Central Baptist Church will be taking a special offering on December 23rd for the Retired Ministers and Missionaries.