Archives for December 2014
It’s official—the holidays are around the corner. How do I know? Relatives are asking for Christmas lists so they can get their shopping done. The commercials on TV are rolling out their latest toy temptations to get children drooling. Even the shopping malls and discount stores are busy stocking Christmas decorations just in case you feel like getting a jump-start on your seasonal lawn ornaments and light displays.
With all this Christmas hoopla, it’s easier than ever to lose focus on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. That’s why we want to spend this month talking with our Elementary kids about Generosity: making someone’s day by giving something away.
We hope kids get wrapped up in others as they show them how much God has been so generous toward us. There’s a danger in getting so wrapped up in ourselves or so wrapped up in our things that we miss the essence of this season. There’s just something about giving that reflects the character of God to those around us. Every good thing we have is a gift from Him. But we also know that God’s generosity has a purpose. God gives to us and expects us to do the same for others in return.
Generosity changes us when we learn how to give the way God gives. This month, we’ll look at four great stories from the New Testament that help us understand God’s plan for generosity in our lives.
This week, we start our month on generosity in Luke 12:13-21 with a parable Jesus told about a rich man who was wrapped up in the wrong thing. He worried more about storing up more stuff and ended up losing everything that really mattered. Our Bottom Line is: Don’t get wrapped up in your stuff.
Our memory verse is a great reminder for us. “Be rich in good deeds … be generous and willing to share,” 1 Timothy 6:18. Many times, we think that our ability to be generous is connected to our stuff. However, being rich really isn’t defined by how much we have or collect, or how many presents we get. We’re not generous because we are rich; rather, we are rich because we are generous. This month, we hope that kids will discover what it really means to be rich—to let God’s generosity show up in their lives and help them get wrapped up in others.*
For preschoolers,we are sharing THE BESTEST NEWS EVER. You know what the bestest news ever is? That God sent us His Son, Jesus, on that very first Christmas day. Yes, THE CHRISTMAS STORY is truly the bestest news ever.
We’re going to have a great time this year sharing the Christmas story with our preschool friends. Each week, they will be introduced to a section of a fun rhyme so that by the end of the month they will be able to share the entire Christmas story with anyone and everyone they meet. Imagine it: Every preschooler in your church knowing the Christmas story. That truly would be the bestest thing ever.
We’ll start this week with the story of how the angel came and told Mary she was going to have a special baby named Jesus. We look forward to moments filled with wonder as we give preschoolers a “first look” at the God who loves them, made them, and wants to be their friend forever.
Holy wrapping paper, Batman, you read the whole thing – THANKS!
Here’s our lessons for this Sunday:
By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.
The Annunciation – the moment that the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah – was a favorite subject of artists in the medieval and Renaissance periods. Something about that moment appealed to their artistic sensibilities. Their representations, however, were almost formulaic. Mary would be depicted head bowed, youngish, wearing blue clothing, and cloistered (to represent her virginity and purity). The angel stood (or hovered – I suspect angels hover more than stand) before her, hand outstretched, half smile on his (always a “his” though I would personally imagine angels to be gender neutral) celestial face. The scene is serene and calm, of course, and infused with light.
Here’s what I’ve always wanted someone to paint – the moment after. The moment after Gabriel leaves. The moment after the room returns to its natural light. The moment Mary is left alone with her thoughts. What would that moment look like? Darker, maybe, as the realization sets in? A more panicked expression on Mary’s face as she understands what has just happened and what she has agreed to and how will she explain it and….? Tears?
And while all of that may have been our reaction, Mary’s response is to sing. Luke paints “the moment after” in a most unusual way. This 12 to 14 year old woman-child who has just been told that she will be theotokos (God-bearer) begins to sing. She sings praise. She sings of reversal. She sings simultaneously of both the mercy and power of God. Luke paints “the moment after” picture with Mary singing.
The church has treasured her song for 2,000 years. We call it “the Magnificat” from the way it opens in Latin (Magnificat anima mea Dominum = “my soul magnifies the Lord”). We sing it, read it, chant it annually during Advent. We understand, from our own experiences, the joy, hopes, and dreams it contains for the child to be born.
But do we truly listen to it? Do we truly hear what Mary sings? Do we pay attention to the lyrics? This Sunday, as we continue our “There’s a Song in the Air” series, we’ll pause and ponder Mary’s song, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). We’ll do our best to listen to the words and consider just what it is that this child’s birth meant to his mother, and what it means to us and to the world.
Bring a heart for praise, a soul that is in the mood to magnify, and a dream of God’s intended future.
Grace and peace.
Hi potential summer camp families! Believe it or not, Camp Chestnut Ridge online registration goes LIVE today. First UMC Cary will be taking kids to church day camp June 22-26 and August 3-7. Kids do NOT have to be church members to join us – come on, come all! What is Chestnut Ridge? An excerpt from their website:
“Each summer, we welcome over a thousand campers who come to share in a warm welcome, good food, friendship, campfires, stories, worship and songs. Each week of camp forms a community that experiences the love of God through a dedicated staff, well planned activities, and a beautiful outdoor setting.
Chestnut Ridge is a fun place to grow. It is a place for first-time campers to gain new life experiences and new friendships with campers and staff. It is a place for returning campers who come each year to make new friendships and renew old ones. It is a place where all campers recreate and reconnect with others, with the created world, and with God.
Nestled in the Heart of Carolina, Chestnut Ridge offers residential and day camp experiences for campers. Summer Camp offers the very best residential program we can conceive: a small group with which to live and grow, and a choice of program activities for older elementary and middle school aged campers. Day camp features an abundance of program selections, and finishes each day with campers returning home before dinner.”
Yes, we are already planning for summer 2015, crazy, right? But to get the best choices in majors for your camper, you DO want to sign up early. Click HERE to register.
Scholarships are available, if interested, email Stacy Harrell at firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Church Day Camp ages are rising 1st grade through 8th grade. We will set up a ‘sign up genius list’ so parents can help taking turns driving/chaperoning the vans in a bit and will post that link when we have it, just be aware that signing your child up for camp also includes signing up to drive or chaperone at least one trip out to CCR.
There has always been special pricing for Church Day Camp, but it is being applied via “discount code” this year. This is a different process from years past. It is still $50 off the regular price. Here’s how it works:
Your church day camp DISCOUNT CODE for your CDC week (Day Camp Week 2) June 22-26 is: CaryWk2CDC
Your church day camp DISCOUNT CODE for your CDC week (Day Camp Week 8) August 3-7 is: CaryWk8CDC
You will need to use this code in order for the Church Day Camp pricing to be applied to your accounts.
You will log into the Online Registration Portal like last year and will update all family information then select the camper(s) being registered.
Put the Discount Code I’ve supplied you into the “Discount Code for …” box and click “Apply”. You will see the Discount apply in the summary on the right side of the screen. The discount equals $50 off the price of the Day Camp option. For families with multiple children, the Discount Code must be applied on each child’s tab.
This process replaces having to scroll through and find a specific “Church Day Camp week”. It has helped minimize the shopping cart and hopefully help the process for all. Also, please note that the $50 discount WILL apply to Horseback Riding Camp this summer. There is one exception, the church day camp discount does NOT apply to Dusky Rock and Raft camp as that is an off-site camp option.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
And here’s a link to the page on our website that lists all summer 2015 activities, so you can plan on VBS, Music Arts Camp (it’s baaack!!) and other fun stuff – although none of those other registrations are open, just yet: http://firstcary.com/2014/10/3936/ Thanks!!! See you at camp!