Craig’s Corner 2018 December


My favorite time of year is here. Christmas time!

Sipping hot cocoa, sitting by the fire (just in general – we don’t have a fireplace in the apartment), turning on the radio and singing along to Christmas music, going shopping to get gifts for friends and family (yes, I actually like going shopping) – it’s all part of the holiday magic. One of the Christmas traditions I enjoy is the Advent calendar. We’ve had a number of different types in the past, LEGO and Playmobil being my favorites. How exciting to wake up in the morning and open that little box up to see what’s inside. But the function of the Advent calendar is to help us countdown the days until Christmas. And that’s what Advent is – it’s a time of waiting in the Christian calendar where we anticipate not only the celebration of the birth of Christ, but also reflect on our own time of waiting for Jesus’ return.

Let’s face it. No one likes waiting. But how we wait is a reflection of the kind of people we are. Are we active participants or are we couch potatoes? Do we have a positive outlook or do we have big grumpy faces? These are the things that provide the measure of a person and they are important in our journey of faith. Think of the last time you were shopping with someone at a store you had NO interest in. Did you complain? Did you mope? Did you wait in the car? Or did you do what you could to help them out? Maybe you showed interest just because you were interested in them. Our behavior in the times of waiting say a lot about our Christian faith and are a witness of God’s love in us.

There are many, MANY verses in the Bible about waiting. But I think Jesus makes it clear what we are supposed to be doing in this period of our faith. Right before he ascended into Heaven after the Resurrection, he told the disciples in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We have a mission to reach the world through the love of Christ and we can’t afford to complacent in our waiting. During this time, let us join together and bring the love that Jesus talks about to those around us. Let us approach Advent with a positive attitude, affirming those we love, and sharing from our blessings to those around us.

If you’d like to explore this concept of waiting with us, I hope you will join us for worship leading up to Christmas Eve and hear about God’s version of “waiting.” So much is going on at our church to make this period fun. The Christmas Bazaar on 12/2, the youth Christmas play on 12/16, Christmas Eve worship on 12/24, and other little goodies besides. It is sure to be amazing and fun.

Peace and Blessings,

Christmas Letter
Dear BMUC Family,

I wish it were Christmas all year round. The festive mood, the delicious smells, the bright colors are all part of what makes it so merry and meaningful. But even more so, the spirit of giving
seems to surround us. We make each other aware of the needs of the homeless, of the hungry, of the oppressed and we are so willing to give so support those worthy causes. I wish that loving and giving spirit lasted all year round.

As you consider your year-end giving, I hope you will consider our church on that list. I hope you will think about the many ways which our church seeks to help people grow in their faith, the ways we seek to support one another, and how we reach out into the world. Being new to our church, it’s pretty amazing to me how much we do – both for one another and for others. The youth just finished the Turkey Lock-In where they devoted their time to helping others by cooking and preparing meals for three different local families while having fellowship with one another. We’re currently accepting donations for the Alameda Food Bank and our UMW is having their annual Christmas Bazaar this coming Sunday (12/2) where the proceeds will help various organizations in their efforts to help others!

Just since I’ve been here, we have had the Fall Family Retreat, Choir Blast, Hawaiian Day, Leadership Summit, Leadership Fair, and Halloween Treat Giveaway not to mention our youth and adults going on the Sierra Service Project. Our youth and kids are awesome! I feel blessed to be part of a church where our youth feel the desire to serve others. Not only did they prepare the food at the Turkey Lock-In and do tons of work in Arizona for the Sierra Service Project, but they prepared and served lunch at our Veterans Day Turkey Sandwich Lunch, helped serve at the J-Sei Family Festival, are leading the effort for the Foster Youth Gift Card Project, making and selling baked goods at the UMW Christmas Bazaar (be sure to come support them), and helped with our missions efforts at the Youth Shelter. That’s only since I’ve been here.

We’re able to do so much because of the support of people like you. Not just monetarily, but with their gifts and presence as well. If you believe in the work we are doing, the lives we are changing, and the love of Christ we hope to share with the world around us, perhaps you’ll offer your financial support to us in this season of giving. We assure you, it won’t go to waste. More importantly, we hope to see you during this Christmas season in particular! If we haven’t met yet, I would like to get to know you in person. You are in my prayers whether I see you often or not at all. I hope together we take this faith journey and see where God is leading us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Peace in Christ,