Shared Ministry Christmas Eve service will be held at Saint Paul’s Lutheran church Monday, Dec. 24, at 7 p.m.

Shared Ministry combined service with Holy Communion will be held Sunday, Dec. 30, at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian church. Sallie and Slim Bonniger will provide special music. A luncheon “retirement party” will be held for Pastors Tom and Roger immediately after worship. Bring a dish to pass.

Pastor Tom proclaimed the third Sunday in Advent “Joy Sunday.” Advent is an annual holiday to renew and appreciate the miraculous in the world. Miraculous things happen with Jesus in our lives.

Luke 3: 7-18 was the basis of Pastor Tom’s sermon, “Miraculous.” John the Baptist instructed crowds of people that came to be baptized by him to share coats and food, do not be greedy, and do not threaten or intimidate others. They were to live like this to be in tune with Jesus, the best the universe has to offer. Pastor Tom told a story about a missionary in China whose church was burned and ruined by bandits. When he picked up a charred hymn book, it fell open to the hymn, “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” He and his followers sang it over and over. Anticipate. Rejoice.

Celebrate the miraculous effect of Jesus on our lives. God is in the world in Jesus Christ, even amidst the ashes. From our prayer of confession: we confess that we sometimes fail to remember that each of us is wonderfully created in beauty and dignity. We forget that our creator God came to share our lives through Jesus.

May God open our minds to keep us aware of his love for all and his presence among us. Amen.