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~ The Second Sunday of Advent ~
Valley News
December 7, 2018
" 'Behold, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the LORD you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,' says the LORD Almighty."
~ Malachi 3.1
     Even as we heard our Lord say to us this past Sunday, "Be always on the watch," we meet another man calling us to the same alert, watchful posture this Sunday: John the Baptist, the messenger sent to prepare the way or our Lord. ". . . the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance of the forgiveness of sins." Repentance. It's another invitation to wake up, to watch what we're doing, to assess and adjust, to prepare to meet the King who was and is and is to come. "Then suddenly the LORD you are seeking will come to his temple . . ." (Malachi 3.3a). The Lord we seek is coming. Let us heed John's words. Let us repent. Let us wake up. Let us joyfully meet our King!
     This week's lessons are:
  • Malachi 2.17 - 3.4
  • Luke 1.68-79
  • Philippians 1.3-11
  • Luke 3.1-6
I encourage you to read and reflect on all of those readings prior to our time together on Sunday morning.
     We will also celebrate the feast of our Lord's Supper this Sunday, so I encourage you to prepare in heart and mind for joyful participation in communion with our Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
"All in Good Time"

     You will find Jennifer's reflections on the second Sunday of Advent and the second week of Advent (Dec. 9-15) below.

Second Sunday of Advent
~ Week of December 9-15 ~

     As we light the second candle in our Advent wreath this Sunday, we’ll remember that Christ came to bring us the “Never stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever love” of God (Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible). It’s easy to hear the love of God in the words of Isaiah which begin our service on Sunday morning: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1), but maybe more difficult to imagine the love of God being like the refiner’s fire or the launderer’s soap described by Malachi. Advent encourages us to hold both in tension as we await the coming of the King.
 
This week:

     St. Lucia’s Day (December 13): Although this day is widely known as a Scandinavian holiday, Lucia lived in Sicily, Italy. She is another figure renowned for her generosity and concern for the poor. She had made a vow to remain a virgin her whole life and was killed by the man to whom she was betrothed when she refused to marry him. As her name suggests (Lucia comes from the Latin word lux, which means “light”), she is associated with the wreath of candles she would wear on her head to light her way when bringing baskets of food to the poor. In Scandinavia, the eldest daughter of the family would wake up her family with a specially-prepared breakfast, wearing a crown of candles on her head and dressed in white dress with a red sash, to represent Lucia’s purity and her martyrdom (Let us Keep the Feast 11). Enjoy a special candle-lit breakfast this morning and consider making a special donation of food or money to our CHOW pantry.
The Follow-Up:
     This week's sermon follow-up (and also warm-up for this coming Sunday's readings) comes entirely from German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote:

     When the old Christendom spoke of the coming again of the Lord Jesus, it always thought first of all of a great day of judgment. And as un-Christmas-like as this idea may appear to us, it comes from early Christianity and must be taken with utter seriousness . . . The coming of God is truly not only a joyous message, but is, first, frightful news for anyone who has a conscience. And only when we have felt the frightfulness of the matter can we know the incomparable favor. God comes in the midst of evil, in the midst of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And in judging it, he loves us, he purifies us, he sanctifies us, he comes to us with his grace and love. He makes us happy as only children can be happy.
     We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God's coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God's coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.
~ from God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas
Upcoming Events and Opportunities:

KNO Live Nativity Helper Meeting:
     Erin Peterson will lead a brief meeting for those who have signed up to help with the KNO Live Nativity (see below) after the service of worship this Sunday (Dec. 9) to walk us through our responsibilities and explain how the evening is going to unfold. If you have not signed up to help, you are encouraged to do so this Sunday and attend the meeting. (Erin is especially concerned to have enough cookies and workers in the kitchen crew).
 
Men's Lunch:
     We will have a men's lunch at Apple Hills at noon on Thursday, December 13.
 
Broome County Jail Ministry  Christmas Gifts:
     Valley Church is collecting gifts for the Broome County Jail Ministry Christmas project (a ministry that helps men and women in mail, those released from jail, and their families). You are especially encouraged to give: new or nearly new children's books, new stuffed animals, soft covered Bibles, small paperback puzzle books, tissue packs, and playing cards. There is a box in the foyer in which you can place your donations.
 
KNO Live Nativity:
     This year, for a twist on our annual tradition, we will be combining Kids' Night Out and the Live Nativity. The children who come for KNO will have the opportunity to tell the story of Jesus' birth to their parents and friends in the Live Nativity. We will have the KNO Live Nativity on Saturday, December 15. The kids will arrive at 5:00 and they will perform one Live Nativity show at 7:30 p.m. The show will be followed by a reception with cookies and hot drinks upstairs.
     This is a new adventure that presents new opportunities and new challenges. There will be far more kids in the nativity than in previous years. This means we need help getting them fed, into costumes, in the right places at the right times, etc. There are sign-up sheets in the foyer that indicate ways you can help out. Please look at those sheets and consider a way you can help make this first ever KNO Live Nativity a success.
     Also, please invite neighbors, friends, and extended family to come and celebrate the coming of our God with us!
Faith Formation Opportunities:
     
     This Sunday (December 9) we will wrap up our  intergenerational exploration of the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism. The class is designed to be accessible to everyone roughly middle school (or even upper-elementary) through adulthood. Feel free to join us even if you missed the previous classes.
     Next Sunday (December 16) the teens will meet at 6:00 p.m. to continue their study, "Living Your Faith in a Messed Up World: a Look at the Contemporary Testimony."
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service:
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
     We will gather at 7:00 p.m. on December 24 for "A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols." We will behold "the development of the loving purposes of God . . . seen through the windows and words of the Bible" * and respond in reverent worship our God who became flesh and dwelt among us and lift our voices in his praise with joyful carols.

* from Eric Milner-White's description of the "A Festival of Lessons and Carols" (Mildner-White was dean of King's College Cambridge and designer of the first "Festival of Lessons and Carols" in 1918)
World Renew Uganda Newsletter:
 
     You can read the latest newsletter from the folks at World Renew in Uganda (including our friend Edward Okiror) here.
Resources and Opportunities from the CRC:

From Back to God Ministries International:
JOY TO THE WORLD - Hints of Christmas litter the Psalm book as the psalmists sing of the coming of a Savior, the Savior we now know as Jesus Christ. Join Groundwork as we examine Psalm 98, Psalm 96, and Psalm 72 to learn what we can expect his coming to bring and what it means for us and for the world. Listen now at
GroundworkOnline.com and subscribe to Groundwork's weekly emails for future episodes.

 
Calvin College January Series:
     2019 JANUARY SERIES - the award winning free liberal arts education delivered in 15 weekly, lunchtime lectures. This year the series begins on January 3 and continues weekdays through January 23 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. EST with topics such as technology and faith, the church and disabilities, restorative justice, cancer research, the #metoo movement, and so much more, by top experts in their fields. You can view many of the lectures online. For information about speakers, topics, and listening options, go to
www.calvin.edu/january

Faith Formation Ministries Tip of the Week:
     Tip - On this second Sunday in Advent, add things to your home that remind you that we are expecting Jesus to return. Set an extra place at the table when you eat, or create and decorate a mural together that says “Come, Lord Jesus.”
Valley Church

Gathered as God's family and sent into the world as agents of God's mission of renewal.

 
This Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent:
 
Worship Service at 10:00 a.m.

Children pre-K through 5th grade will go to Sunday School following our celebration of baptisms and welcome of new members.

Brief debriefing meeting for KNO Live Nativity helpers directly after the service of worship.


Inter-generational faith formation on the 1st question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism at 6:00 p.m. at the church building.
That we might better pray for one another and God's world:
 
     We give thanks that Ethan Stocum has received a clean bill of health and pray for continued recovery and health for him.
     We rejoice with Frank and Barb Lockwood and give thanks to God as they celebrate 65 years of marriage, and as they celebrate Barb's birthday.
     We continue to pray for healing and health for: Ann de Jager, Daryl Whitacre, Frank Lockwood, Peter DeYoung, Beth Blake, Amy Beardsley, and Lily Beardsley (who is experiencing back and hip pain).
     We give thanks for the exciting transition Robyn Vernon is experiencing as she concludes her time at university and begins an internship for her final semester, praying for God's guidance and peace for her.

     We give thanks for the work of Safe Church ministries of the Christian Reformed Church and the Safe Church teams at individual churches (including Valley), and ask God to equip those teams and empower them for the task of ensuring the safety of everyone in our congregations. We also pray for wisdom and guidance as our congregations minister to those who are survivors of abuse and for God's restoring, reconciling grace to work in the lives of those who have experienced abuse.

 
We pray for friends
and family of Valley members:
we thank God for complete recovery for Jessica Zuiderveen and ask for guidance for Cody and Jessica as they seek God's guidance for their future once their term as missionaries to Haiti ends later in 2019 (please see their December newsletter here for more ways you can pray for the Zuiderveens).
     We pray for healing: for the Monroes' nephew Joshua; for the de Jager's grand-nephew Cole as he continues his treatments for cancer; for Mike Flynn's mother, and for peace for her and the rest of her family; for Marcus Doller's mother; for David Derzanovich's brother-in-law Tim; for Martheen Griffioen as she battles cancer; for Jim and Becky Stocum's friend Eric who is battling brain cancer; for Adam Derzanovich; for Alistair Krempel and for his dog, Shep.
Sunday Morning Ministries
for December 9, 2018:

Greeter: Judy Zwierzynski

Ushers: Doug Aukema and Mike Corgan

Congregational Prayer: Doug Aukema

Scripture Readers:
1st Lesson (Malachi 2.17 - 3.4): Leslie Vermaat
2nd Lesson (Philippians 1.3-11): Luci Huizinga
3rd Lesson (Luke 3.1-6): Al Vos

Nursery: Melanie Nelson
Church Telephone: 607.648.8224

Church email: valleychurchny@gmail.com

Church website: valleychurchny.org