December 16, 2020 Advent

How is your Advent journey progressing?  Does it feel like two steps forward and one back? During this strange season our previous large steps to complete holiday preparations may feel like baby steps with lots of trips and falls along the way.


I keep imagining Mary on a donkey, riding on a rough road or walking on routes that may have large rocks or holes to avoid.  Balance for her may have become a new experience.


Some say that balance in life is overrated. I’m of the mind that too much of a good thing is too much.  When, on dark days, all I want to do is go back to bed – too much of a good thing, right?


If being out of balance feels like you right now, stay the course.  What would have happened if Mary said, “I’m not going to Bethlehem”?  I’m thinking she’d be in some Roman prison for not adhering to the rule of the time. 


Mary road on – rocky road and stinky donkey but she was NOT alone.  Joseph was with her.  I’m pretty sure the angels watched over her.  God was with her.
If you are feeling unbalanced know that you are not alone.  God is with you. (and so am I)
Blessings,

Barbara


​​Thank you for your faithful support of St. Andrews, St. Lukes, and Emmanuel United Churches. We appreciate your continuedprayers and all that you do to minister in the world. Please contact your treasurer or myself for ways to give financially during our time of sheltering in place. You are a blessing to all. Barbara
Barbara (Doll) Creelman Designated Lay Minister, R Denbigh, Matawatchan, Schutt Pastoral Charge 613 333 9894 (Manse) 905 252 1894 (Cell) (does not work in Denbigh)

https://tweakyourweek.org/ https://musingsfromthemanse.com

December 15, Advent

The sun is shining, the grass is green….well not so green here in Denbigh. 


The song came to me this morning as the sun decided to peak for a few moments.  Those moments were rather nostalgic for me – thinking of Christmases past and of family gatherings.  The old artificial trees with the glass ornaments.  Everything shimmered in the sparkling lights.


I wonder how Mary felt as the baby kicked.  How did Joseph feel when he first heard the news?  Perhaps they both thought back to previous Hanukkah celebrations.  They might have looked forward to the next steps on their journey to Bethlehem.


Is there something, a song or old movie, that brings you back to those sentimental thoughts?  What sort of rememberings will you bring forward as the year closes?  A new song? A new story? 

 
Take a few more steps today and pack a memory in your luggage for this year’s journey to the cradle.

December 14, 2020, Advent

Well it happened.  I finally found the creche I was looking for.  And yes, it brought joy.  More on that next weekend.


We search for so many things.  That special gift, the $10 you knew was in your pocket, the last cookie all get out attention more so this time of year.

I’ll keep this short this evening.  What are you looking for?  Something extra for Christmas?  Something to add to your Advent journey?


Maybe Christmas isn’t just at the end of our Advent adventure but each and everyday that we celebrate the love of Christ.

Keep searching – there’s something to be found in every day.
Blessings, Barbara

December 13th, Advent

Happy Joy Day!


The third Sunday of Advent is when we light the pink candle and celebrate the joy that Mary felt on hearing about the gift she would be bringing to the world.
“My soul magnifies the Lord”, she sang.


What song does our heart sing? Today? This month?


Today I remember my Dad – this would have been his birthday. He brought me so much joy – including the gift and love of music.   He began life with many difficulties, some of which needed surgeries at a very young age.  Think back to 1934 and what the practice of medicine looked like then.

Move forward to the medical advances today.  I am thankful for those who are healing, and lift up those who await treatments.  Is this part of JOY? 

Today I search for all the things that bring me joy. 

What about you?

December 11, 2020, Advent

It’s Friday – an evening reflection


Do you remember wishing on Monday that Friday would come?  Then Friday comes and you are excited for the weekend? Guess the feelings are a little different now.  The days flow into weeks and I keep asking myself, “What day is it today?”


As I/we prepare for Christmas and continue packing our bags for the journey to the cradle let’s remember that as much as the destination is important so too is the time spent getting there. Add to those feelings about watching, waiting, and travelling.  Know that regardless of space and time, COVID or turmoil, we are not alone. 

God is always with us.  We give thanks to God – at all times.


You will never walk alone.

December 10, 2020 Advent

We continue with mystery today – the mystery of love.


Do you have a favourite love song?  You know the kind, that brings back those warm fuzzy memories and thoughts of love?


One of my favourite hymns about love is “Love divine, all loves excelling. Joy of heaven to earth come down.”


We don’t often think of this hymn as a Christmas song but the first line says it all -“joy of heaven to earth come down.”


Does your favourite Christmas carol speak about love OR does it emote those feelings of love? I’d love to hear what favourites come to mind.


Blessings of love,

Pastor Barbara

December 9, 2020 Advent

Colossians 2:2-3
New Revised Standard Version
2 I (Paul) want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Holy mystery.  Hidden treasures and knowledge.How often do we ponder the holy mystery that is Jesus?  


I think the greatest mystery is in the unconditional love given to each of us through the person, Jesus of Nazareth.  Do we include thoughts and prayers of love during our Advent practices?


Christmas is all about love.  What better way to celebrate this love than to share this love in and during our preparations.


There’s no mystery in the fact that December 25th comes every year or that carols are heard and sung throughout the month. Presents are purchased and wrapped, trees and homes are decorated, and baking smells so sweet and wonderful.  The mystery, the Holiness is how we approach the manager; the life of Jesus.
Join me in celebrating this Holy mystery.
Pastor Barbara

December 8, 2020

Through the storm.


As we search for peace do we remember that God is with us through the storm, through the turmoil?

Finding peace while we battle the voices inside us that say we are not good enough, strong enough, bold or brave enough, is not an easy task.

Perhaps that is one reason we have an Advent time. We can hold on to the quiet, peaceful moments of Advent.  This year we are faced with a storm but also faced with crucial decisions that help us through to the next stages of our lives.

We can choose to avoid Advent activities but Advent is with us in this time before the stable and the manger. 

Advent – advancing, moving forward.
Take the next steps you need. God is with you.

Pastor Barbara

December 7, 2020

Advent Reflection

Another week has begun.  Another round of news releases about COVID, lock-downs, and the vaccine.


How do we keep peace in our hearts, our lives, when the outside world is no longer what we expect it to be or wish it was?


This is the time we dig deep – deep into our hearts and our faith.

From Psalm 31

…but I trust in you O Lord;I say, “You are my God”My times are in your hand;  ….Let your face shine upon your servant;   save me in your steadfast love.


We rest safe in the arms of the Divine knowing that peace comes when we rest.
May you find peace this day and always,

Pastor Barbara

Listening

Today is about listening while we wait.
Psalm 62 (assorted verses)

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall never be shaken.  For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. 


Beginning the day in silence and in the WORD we begin the day in the same way we end the day.  In our silence we listen, we pray, we connect with the divine.
This silence is made more difficult with the onset of early morning news and the evening news we close the day with.  Whether we watch or read, do these times  help us draw closer to God?  Are these times so unimportant that we feel it necessary to know more about the world than about listening to the voice of the Spirit?


I cannot answer those questions for you but only for myself.  When in doubt, pray.  When there is too much noise in your life, pray, be still, be silent.
Advent is a time through the darkness to be silent and listen.

What draws your attention today?


Pastor Barbara