Rustlings (December 19, 2016)

And the ‘first beard saga’ continues… Several people have asked when I’m shaving off the beard. The tone of their voice and their selective use of demonstrative versus possessive adjectives vividly indicates their feelings toward said facial hair. In other words, if they ask, “When are you shaving off ‘your’ beard?” I conclude they like the look. If they ask, “When are you shaving off ‘that’ beard?” I conclude this is a look they don’t appreciate on their preacher. All that said, I had planned to shave it off this past Friday immediately after the kindergarten Christmas program, but someone told me I looked rugged with the beard. You don’t hear that a lot when you drive a VW Beetle and wear argyle sweater vests… so I’m keeping it a few more days…

The date of ‘the shave’ is undetermined, but there are some much more important dates I want to make sure are on your calendar. Wednesday night, December 21, at 7:00pm in the Carpenter Chapel, we will hold our Longest Night Service. This brief service of prayer, song and communion is designed to give comfort to those who are grieving during this Christmas Season. On Saturday evening, December 24, we will celebrate Christmas Eve in the Sanctuary at 5:00pm. I will be sharing a sermon and a gift with all children in attendance. (Adults may feel free to listen in.) Don’t miss this festive evening of celebration and anticipation, and YES, we will be worshiping together on Christmas Day. It’s a holy day for Christ’s sake. (And I mean that literally.) There will be no Sunday School, but we will gather around the piano in the Fellowship Hall at 10:30am for a casual service of carols, prayers, sharing and sermon. Children and rebellious adults are invited to wear their PJ’s or other casual dress. Children (and rebellious adults) may bring a favorite gift with them for sharing. And there will be coffee… Finally, on New Years Day, Sunday, January 1, we will meet in the Fellowship Hall at 9:00am for breakfast (make a reservation online or call the church office) and then celebrate Epiphany in the Sanctuary at 10:30am. Remember, December 31 is the last day to make contributions to this year’s budget – be generous.

So while I can make no guarantees for a shave date, these holiday events are ‘inked in’ on the calendar. I hope to see you at each and every one…

— Jim