Vandalia United Methodist Church


From the Pastor

An auction house recently put up a rare edition of the first Christmas Card for sale, from 1843, hoping to fetch around $10,000. The very idea of making money off Christmas by selling cards was scandalous and several Christian organizations also objected to the toast with wine! One Christian organization raised such a fuss that it was another three years before the maker of the card dared to try again. Other pundits simply suggested that the idea of a Christmas card would never "take off" who would want to spend money just to say "hello" to others in the holiday season?

Of course, the pundits and opponents of Christmas cards lost this battle. Today we send millions of cards and receive millions as well. Some of us are still updating our lists! Others send out letters, photos and even poems. We are possessed by the notion that this is the time of year to be in contact with those we know and love, more so than any other time of year. I have always loved receiving Christmas cards.

Sherry and I have lived in many communities and we are always reminded of the love and great people we shared while there. Christmas cards communicate more than just a sentiment of the season, they remind us of the relationships that bring us life. And then I, we, and probably most of you; do a curious thing. We throw them away. I doubt any of them will someday fetch $10,000 in an auction somewhere. I read recently a devotion in which the author made a bold suggestion. She decided one year not to discard the cards, but rather to tape them to a bulletin board which she hung in her laundry (Leah DiPascal, Proverbs 31 Ministries). Why her laundry? Because it is a room she visits often associated with a chore few of us enjoy. But when she heads into the laundry room she is reminded that she is loved.

I was reflecting on this and thinking I might put such a board next to the lawn mowers because that is one of the chores I love the least! But there is a second reminded tacked onto that bulletin board. These people who love her she loves as well. And she is reminded in love to pray for them, to lift them to God, to keep them in memory even as the new year begins. The cards encourage her to pray (Ephesians 1:16). So what will you do with your Christmas cards? How might the annual reminder of brotherly and sisterly love be turned into a ritual of weekly prayer? And if we can engage in this prayer, what a blessing a simple piece of paper stamped with some Christmas picture and pithy saying or two, might become?

Grace and Peace, Pastor Tom


Worship Notes for January

Sunday, January 10
Scripture: Ephesians 1: 15-23
Sermon: Prayers for Power: how to pray not for God to act, heal, respond; but rather for God to give us strength to act

Sunday, January 17
Scripture: Ephesians 2: 19-22
Sermon: Citizenship: We are citizens of the Living Church and ought to use this citizenship in the world, what happens when our citizenship conflicts with our American citizenship?

Sunday, January 24
Scripture: Ephesians 4: 1-6
Sermon: O Lord, its hard to be humble!: What is humility and why is it a uniquely Christian virtue?

Sunday, January 31
Scripture: Ephesians 5: 1-7, 21
Sermon: Imitation is the Sincerest form of flattery!: how we imitate Christ





9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School

First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684