In the sweltering of July, my mother finds her candles on sale at Hobby Lobby. She is always excited to find three purple and one pink. She can’t wait to call me and ask if I want her to purchase some for me as well. She is thoughtful and generous.
Why is she so happy about unusual colored candles? Because she uses them for her Advent Wreath in December. There is something touching and beautiful about her excitement as she considers celebrating the shocking miracle of the day that Christ came in the flesh to redeem His people.
I love this tradition too, although I never remember the reasons for the different colors. On the four Sundays that precede Christmas, Gabriel, myself, my mother and my father gather in a circle. My mother lights the candle, and then each candle progressively as the weeks continue. The first one will be a stump by the time Christmas arrives.
My father has a book of Scripture and prayer that we take turns reading. We start with the centuries old call of Isaiah and lead into the unbelievable fulfillment of them. No one could have written this story – it’s so perfect and so unimaginable. It is a time to ponder and marvel in anticipation.
We are reminded of our black, our shadows, our red-guilt. We are reminded of His purity, His Light, His red-blood that has cancelled our debt. We wonder, “What was it like for Mary? For Joseph? What about the shepherds?” We read of their fear, their confusion, and their obedience. We discuss the ramifications of their courage and faith.
Sometimes, I weep in our little circle. Quietly, and I don’t think they see it. But to watch my Dad, my Mom, and my son all together in prayer in worship is overwhelming.
It is a gift that I can’t fully express – I know our histories, our struggles, and how God has rescued us and reconciled us. First to Him, and now to each other. Our family has been rocked by death, by disease, by pain and hurt, and yet God’s mercy has enveloped us. It is good to gather and worship together. So good.
Maybe this is why my mother gets so excited in July when she finds those candles?
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The One to One Soul Care Conference will be held at MCC November 9-10. Are you interested in biblical counseling? Do you feel you want some training on how to walk with a brother or sister in their dark seasons? Please join us! Click here to register at or contact Elizabeth for more information.
Please note - the Sponsorship Training for the Wood Ministry will be rescheduled for a later date. Please contact Don & Ann Moore with questions.
Pull out your mixers and aprons! SHINE is looking for people who can donate cakes, or other desserts, for A. Montoya’s Fall Festival! Cakes can be dropped off at the church foyer Friday, October 26 between 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. Questions? Click here to sign up to bring a cake!MCC is gearing up for the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Shoebox drive! The mission of OCC is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Last year MCC collected 230 shoe boxes to be gifted to children around the world! Boxes will be available this Sunday, October 21st, in the foyer and the final drop-off date is November 11th! It is a great time to start gathering items to bless children around the world!
Shine also has a unique food pantry at A. Montoya! Kids often go to bed without dinner, come to school too late for breakfast, and aren't sure if there will be dinner that night. We have been asked to create a small food pantry at the school that would contain items like tuna packets, apples, macaroni and cheese, Ensure or Boost, peanut butter crackers, nuts, and the like. The children could keep these items in their backpacks so that they would always have something to keep them going. We are working on putting together a list of items, including gluten-free ones, that we would like to stock the pantry with. Please pray about whether you would like to donate items or money to help keep the pantry stocked year-round!