Christmastide Blessings

Christmastide Blessings
Annual Incarnation of the Story of the Birth of Jesus

Continuing the work of Jesus, simply, peacefully, JOYFULLY, together.

We worship at 9:30 am on Sunday.
Sunday School begins at 11 am.
Potluck is the first Sunday of the month.

17975 Centreville-Constantine Road, Constantine, MI 49042

florence.brethren.mennonite@gmail.com

Sunday, January 13, 2013

EMBRACING JOY

Each year the board chooses a theme for congregational life.   
2013: EMBRACING JOY. 
After learning again and again how to grieve, joy calls.  And along with that, new folk at Florence arrive.  We have the opportunity to make new Florence friends, embrace the joy of the children in our midst, and deepen and widen our welcome. 

This tugxedo image contains all the words we considered in naming our theme.  We have many connections and circles to ponder.



EMBRACING JOY was foreshadowed by some of our wise members.  Christine Nofsinger shared the following on November 25, 2012 as we headed into Advent and a new church year:


“Just as I had to learn how to grieve and live life in the midst of that grief, I’m ready for uninhibited expressions of joy, hope, and all that jazz.  Celebration that needs no excuses, that makes no sense. Like gold to a toddler.  Baby bling.   I believe the two can co-exist.  Our celebrations of joy will not diminish the grief that we will always carry with us and our grief will also not diminish our ability to celebrate and live in hope.    Grief and hope will continue to be our life companions.  And oddly enough, the true path to deep joy is through the fire.  The scriptures are full of these references. In the Psalms we read ‘weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.’”

And Tim Lind on Epiphany, January 6, 2013, shared from the poem "A Brief for the Defense" by Jack Gilbert.



We must risk delight.
We can do without pleasure,

but not delight. Not enjoyment.

We must have the stubbornness
to accept our gladness 

in the ruthless furnace of this world.
To make injustice the only measure of our attention 

is to praise the Devil."

For years I have called Florence the community that celebrates God's joy and God's justice.  This year we will learn the new dance emerging in our dire and daring days.

Andre Gide writes:



Know that joy is rarer, more difficult,
and more beautiful than sadness.
Once you make this all-important discovery,
you must embrace joy as a moral obligation. 



My prayer is that as we EMBRACE JOY in our lives, share that JOY with one another, and open our EMBRACE to all those who are drawn to Florence, we will know more fully the EMBRACING JOY OF GOD which seeks JOY and JUSTICE for ALL.