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Carry with You Peace and Hope

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At first glance it's easy to see that Paul is a senior citizen, maybe a senior, senior citizen even. He has a cane, hands that are gnarled, and what hair he has is snow white. All of this is taken in at a glance as you walk up to the information desk at Reston Hospital, but then, just as you lean on the counter to ask your question, you look into his eyes. Paul's eyes twinkle – really twinkle – and they look into yours with joyful expectancy, as if he can't wait to answer your question.

This particular day I needed room information about a person in the ICU. It turned out to be rather complicated. Paul and I spent about fifteen minutes together during which time he made multiple phone calls on my behalf, all the while assuring me we would find the information I desired. The entire time he was kind, calm and helpful. As I told him goodbye and began to thank him for his help he stopped me and said, "It is I who was privileged to help you. Go visit your friend and I pray that you carry with you peace and hope."

Wow. As I walked toward the ICU I reflected on his words, peace and hope. What would it mean to live remembering that I carry with me peace and hope? Sometimes it is natural in life to pick up fear and anxiety; they are the by-products of a broken world. But what if when we encountered situations that naturally lead to anxiousness we remembered we have a generous supply of peace and hope? My new friend Paul reminded me that even in the most difficult of times we are not without the ability to find hope and peace and that the words found in the letter to the Philippians are true, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Paul was a special servant to me this week and I am so grateful for his reminder that carry with me the peace of Christ wherever I go.

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Sermon Response: This Year Will Be Different ~ by Wendy LeBolt

Advent Sermon Series

What I Really Want for Christmas

I stared at my worship bulletin yesterday and it asked me"What I really want for Christmas."

I have shopping lists already madeformembers of my family, friends, teachers. Don't forget the bus driver and the mail carrier. But what doI really want? I want to give Christ the best birthday gift ever. So, what do you give the Son of God who really has all things? What would bring a smile to Jesus' face on Christmas Day?

I'm not sure, but I have 27 days, beginning today, to think about it. And I'm not stopping at just thinking about it. My teenaged daughter and I set up a Facebook Page, Christmas Tree for Christ, where we (and all our friends and acquaintances who "like" us) can placeour offering ofgifts for the Baby Jesus. I hope to place one gift under the tree each day. I hope you will join us there and place a gift under the tree.

Yesterday, I placed thechildren's book, the Littlest Angel, by Charles Tazewell asI read the story again. It is this story which inspired the idea for the Christmas Tree for Christ.

Today, Iplaced my (very) humble rendition of the hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel played on the baby grand piano given to me as a gift from my father in law. This offering was inspired by Reverend Miner's amazing account of singing O Come Emmanuel in the Church of Saint Anne and hearing ring in the rafters the hope-filled prayers of hundreds of generations of the faithful.

I know I will never have the "perfect" gift for Christ. But seeking to know what He wants, I think, may make this Advent different for me. It's a small way I can light the candle of hope and invite others to know Hope as I know Him.

What three things will you do differently this Advent season that will bring renewed hope and faith?

Are there friends who will encourage you to stick with the changes you have committed to? how will you encourage them?

Pamela Potts has given us some great suggestions about simplifyingand making spacefor things that give lasting meaning in the season.I very much enjoyed deleting the Cyber Monday specials from my computer this morning without reading them.

I am choosing to believe in hope. Redskins fans?

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