On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“Advent is the waiting time”

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” — A.A. Milne

I would have told Pooh that these weeks before Christmas were like that moment before you taste the honey. When I was a child, this was a magic time. There was a flurry of preparation that seemed to transform everyday chores into something special. Everyone was busy with shopping and decorating and school activities. There was an energy that felt electric underlying everything we did. It was happy and fun and full of the anticipation of Christmas. Not being a Catholic family, we didn’t call these weeks “Advent,” but that’s what we were feeling—as if we were holding our breath for the great gift of Christmas. Like Winnie the Pooh, those moments before the big day were as sweet as honey.

These days, in my advancing middle years, Advent is so much more than my childish anticipation of Christmas day. I treasure more dearly the reality and the mystery of the Holy Child born to save us. The sense of sweet anticipation is stronger than ever for me. There’s still so much to be done, but now my “doing” involves more prayer and service and less shopping and decorating. The time spent with loved ones is so much more precious, since many are no longer here with us. And, it seems this Advent is calling us beyond the limits of our community and into the world beyond our borders.

It’s as if the world itself is anticipating something, too. We’re waiting for the next news report, mostly with dread. Will more innocent blood be spilled? We’re holding our collective breath, hoping and praying for peace, while we’re still in mourning for the latest victims. And into our broken and hurting world, our Savior will once again be born to bring us hope. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great Light”(Isaiah 9:2). Are there any more beautiful words in all of Sacred Scripture?

You see sometimes I think we forget that the Light has always come into a world darkened by sin. It’s our faith that allows us to bear that Light to others. We step out beyond our fears and see the needs of our neighbors, illuminated for us by the light of Christ. That light allows us to love the unloveable and to forgive the unforgivable. Whenever it seems the darkness is winning, the Star reminds us that there is more to this life than struggle and heartache, than war and loss and fear. Christ comes to bring us a way out of all that binds us to sin. In Him, we find our purpose and the answer to all our questions. In a world torn by terror and war, His Light shows us the way.

He first came into a land of occupation and repression, filled with poverty, torn by war. And He’ll come again into our own world, so much the same as that first time. He didn’t wait until everything was perfect and everyone got along before He was born. He came into our mess, into our sin and anguish. And just like Him, we can’t wait until someone else fixes everything before we love and comfort and heal the wounded among us. We have to be like Jesus and love now, today, this person, this family, this brother and sister right in front of us. The real anticipation we feel in the weeks leading up to Christmas isn’t about the presents we’ll receive but in the joy of giving ourselves away. Advent calls us to love as Jesus loves, and catch the world unawares.

“We cannot wait til the world is sane,

“To raise our songs with joyful voice,

“For to share our grief, to touch our pain,

“He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!”

— Madeleine L’Engle

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Pleasant Valley Baptist will have a float in the Ringgold Christmas parade, Friday evening, December 6th. We are excited and eager to work together to present the gospel in this special area event. Pray with us that God will be honored and glorified. Pray some will be touched and reminded that Christ is the reason for this season.

December 15th, PVBC will have local guitar artist, Wesley Crider, present his Christmas music during the morning service. This is and has been a very meaningful time of focusing our hearts on the meaning and joy of Christmas. Christmas dinner will follow with food and fellowship. After dinner, all are invited to join us in visiting area shut-ins with caroling and brief message of encouragement. Services will begin at 10:30AM.

December 22nd, PVBC choir will present their special music program. There will be traditional and special music presented bringing glory to God. Make plans to be with us and join in this season of celebration of the Savior’s birth.

Missionary Josh Ewing will be with us on December 1st. Come and hear what this servant of God is doing and has done for the furtherance of the kingdom of God.

Pastor Flood’s message Sunday from Colossians 3:1517 looked at why are we not thankful everyday. It seems we have to set aside a special day to be thankful instead of being thankful everyday for all of God’s blessing on us. Perhaps thankfulness everyday is not the norm because of three things: thinking we deserve all of God’s blessings, don’t realize the cost of what we have i.e. our freedoms, our salvation. Perhaps we are not thankful because we are self-centered and not concerned about the needs of our fellow man. We are not deserving of any of God’s goodness. Indeed, the cost He paid to bring us from hell to heaven, from darkness to light, certainly calls for us to be exceedingly thankful. A thankful heart could be described as a heart content with the Lord, caring toward Christ, and controlled by the peace of God. We should be thankful in every situation. In life, we have pressures and troubles. Sometimes Christ calms the storm just as He did in the Bible story. Sometimes He does not. Sometimes in the darkness of the storm, we hear a voice. Fear not, come. Just as Peter, in the darkness of the storm, was fearful, Christ called him to come. Peter stepped over the side of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. Peter was fine as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but when, for a second, he looked away he began to sink. In our storms, Jesus bids us come, endure, I will get you through, Be thankful unto Jesus every day!

Pray with us for those with physical needs, Jewel Mitchell, Carolyn Denton, Lula Petty, Denise Pitts, Claudette Armstrong, Warren McAllister, and many other of which the Lord knows their name and their need. Many extended family members are in need of prayer and ask for them to remembered in your prayers knowing God knows. Pray for Pastor Flood and his family, for the church and ministries including missionaries, Sunday school, youth, nursing homes and homeless, orphans. Pray for our country/leaders, congress, Israel/America. Pray God’s will be done in impeachment inquiry. Pray for PVBC to grow and spread the gospel in this community. Pray for souls to be saved and for God to send revival.

Services are live streamed on Facebook. Service times are Sunday School 10AM, Worship 11AM, Evening 6PM with prayer at 5:45PM. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth Kid’s Zone meet at 7PM. Call for transportation 706-537-3633.

Come visit us at Pleasant Valley Baptist. Lots going on and we want you to be a part of our family. You are always welcome!

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