December 23, 2020, Advent

Happy Advent.


Are you tired of the Christmas music yet?  When I opened up a Christmas playlist on Spotify this morning and glanced through the song titles I realized I had heard enough. *sigh


Christmas day is not even here and I’m already overloaded. Everything from our traditional carols to the down home, sappy holiday tunes that include Rudolph and White Christmas.


Here’s the thing.  If you enjoy Christmas music whether they are your favourite carols or the tunes from old movies, there are words that can “spark joy”. “Dashing through the snow” may bring memories of the past.  “Dreaming of a White Christmas” may be your theme.  Dream on.


What’s my point?  Whether the music you sing or hear is about the baby in the manger or chestnuts roasting, if they make you smile and feel love, then you could be connecting with love, the love of the Divine.


Music plays a  large part in many of our lives and celebrations.  Regardless of your favourite – sing on!  The joy and love of music also brings the spirit of Christmas.


Sing on!
Pastor Barbara

December 22, 2020 Advent

Greetings Advent travellers.


With the news this week from Premier Ford there are so many mixed feelings it’s hard to put a finger on just one.  Sorrow, confusion, fear, overwhelm and perhaps so much more.


Then, the news that Christmas Eve will bring lots and lots of rain and possibly the freezing kind. Plans are holding well right now. We’ll see how the day goes.  This is the very real and earthly reality.


My first Christmas in Ministry was during  the last big ice storm that hit the GTA and area, December 2013.  All my plans and nervousness of the first Christmas came to an end when the ice storm and damages caused power outages and church steps that were not manoeuvrable. 


There are many reasons worship services are cancelled.  However, being Christians is not cancelled.  As followers of Christ we know what we have to do.  
We give.  We love.  We shed light in the darkness.  We read the scriptures and sing our carols – in the safety of our homes. In these seemingly bleak times may we find the light of Christ in our hearts to shine for one another. Enjoy this familiar carol.  

We are one – in Christ.  Through rain, or snow or – well you know how that goes.  


Worship on dear Advent travellers.  Worship on.
Barbara

December 21, 2020 Advent

The longest night is upon us. 


The last couple of days have been pretty dreary.  Cloud cover and rain or snow have been par for the course.  The earth needs rest and recover. I believe we do as well.  

We continue to wait – for the return to light and for the light of the world that is Jesus.  There is hope in the darkness; peace in our waiting; joy in our anticipation; and love that comes within the light.


Today is a day to hunker down and embrace the darkness.  Find comfort in the slower pace of winter and in the lock-down to come. There will be lots of time to get busy in our lives.


We are blessed to be a blessing. Be the light of the world that you truly are.
Pastor Barbara

Advent Journey Home: December 20, 2020

Odd, but I’m feeling homesick.  Not which home but it’s the feeling deep inside; a longing for something from before.  It’s a feeling, a smell, or a sound.  I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

This song caught me in the heart today.

“I will sing you home”

We’re getting close. We pray for safety, bread for the journey, and love to sustain us.

Bethlehem is just around the corner.

December 18, 2020 Advent

Love is patient; love is kind; ” 1Corinthians 13


We walk into the week that is surrounded and filled with love.  Well, that’s the plan, right?


Patience seems to flee this time of year.  Perhaps we’re feeling like our last nerve is raw.  Where does love fit in our pictures?It shows in the kindness we show one another and in the moments when we count to ten and just breathe.  
Paul writes these words to remind the folk in Corinth of what love looks like.  Friends, the world still needs love and patience.  Each one of us needs this reminder too. 

 
To close today’s reflection from verse “Love never ends”.  Read that again.  If love never ends neither does patience, neither does God’s love for us.


Take a look in the mirror and tell yourself. “Love is patient; love is kind.”  Then shine a big, bright smile.  Feel silly?  That’s OK.  Just giggle and go on about your day, remembering what love is for you.
Blessings,Pastor Barbara

December 17, 2020 Advent

Hello fellow Advent travellers.


As we have been packing our plans, dreams, and ideas as we journey to the cradle, are you needing a second bag?

When I’m planning for something special I pack too much into the days ahead without regard for how much time a task will take or how much energy will be needed. 

*from Pintrest

Have you ever received something in the mail or from a store that has been vacuum sealed?  You open it and whoosh – it almost explodes.

Our days up to Christmas can feel like that.  Doing more than we can manage and not getting the rest and proper nutrition needed to sustain us could leave us feeling like life is out of control.


When life gets this way it’s time to stop.  Stop and pray, meditate, breathe.  I imagine that’s what Mary would have done.  Her song after hearing the message from the angel could be seen as a moment of thanksgiving and prayer.

Instead of packing everything for the journey into one bag, cramming it all in, perhaps a small carry-on for our prayers and quiet times would be helpful.


What will you put in our small bag for the journey today?

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?