Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise God in the heights.
Sunday January 1 – one service only at 9:30
The church office will be closed
Monday January 2, 2023
What goes up, must come down……
The beautiful Chrismon tree that adorned our sanctuary this Advent and Christmas season will be taken down on Saturday, January 7 at 11 a.m.
If you are able to help, it would be greatly appreciated.
As you read this, we have entered into the liturgical season of Christmas, which lasts until 6 January (Epiphany). Except for mammoth sales and some people still off work, everything seems pretty much back to normal.
But Christ has been born again for us! God in Jesus Christ has chosen to dwell with us, to heal us, to teach us … and ultimately to give his own life for ours.
How will we respond? How will life be different in 2023?
What if we aren’t sure how to welcome Jesus, if we wonder how to make his birth and presence among us more personal and more meaningful? What if we don’t know where to start? What if we can’t imagine how to begin to draw closer to him and strengthen our relationship and our faith?
It occurs to me that prayer is a wonderful way to start to connect with God in Christ, to nurture our faith, and to increase our hope.
To begin thinking about how prayer might shape us, I encourage you to take some time in January to jot down some thoughts about prayer. What does it mean to you? How and when do you pray? Do you always use words? Who taught you to pray? Is prayer ever difficult for you? No one need see what you have written. This is just a chance to begin to consider a life of prayer and conversation with God.
Then, join me at church on Saturday, 25 February 2023 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for an opportunity to learn about different types of prayer. We will have the chance to try some new ways to pray—in a very low-key way.
Please sign up on the sheet in the back of the nave by 12 February. Please bring something to share for a light breakfast—fruit, muffins, etc. Juice and coffee will be provided. Bring a friend, and start the New Year off by learning about how prayer can be a part of every single day in more ways than you can imagine!
Thanks to everyone who remembered me and my family this Christmas! We feel blessed to be a part of the Grace family.
Blessings to you this Christmas and in 2023.
Pastor Brenda, Gail, Cam and Madalyn
Meditation of Matthew 2:13-23
By Vicar Dave
In Mid-December, I finished a class at the seminary titled “Law and Narrative”. At least half of the class was focused on some of the stories that are told in the Old Testament as the early history of the world and God’s people. I would also say that these stories are placed there for our instruction regarding the nature of God and how to live together. The story in today’s Gospel definitively falls into the narrative category.
It’s always amazing to me what some people will do in order to hold onto power. In Herod’s case, he was willing to commit mass murder.
I can’t imagine being in Joseph’s shoes during this story. First, an angel comes to him and tells him his soon to be wife in going to have a child that isn’t his, but he’s to marry her and care for the child as his own. And now he’s being told by an angel to take the child and his mother, leave everything you’ve ever known, and go to another country! Joseph had a decent profession and probably an established customer base. He was what we might call middle class. Imagine being told to leave the life you’ve worked hard to establish at a moment’s notice! I don’t know about you, but I’d find it very difficult to leave my home and my job and go live somewhere that I knew very little about. Especially if I was just starting a family, like Joseph was. Joseph must have been a man of remarkable faith and trust in God. Maybe that’s why God chose him to be Jesus earthly father.
So, Joseph gets up, right after receiving his instructions, in the middle of the night, packs up his young family, and off they go on a 150-mile journey to Egypt for an unknow amount of time. I think my wife would say, “You’re nuts”! But Mary’s faith was also remarkable to say the least, so she grabs the infant Jesus and they go right away.
While Jesus and His family are in Egypt, Herod orders the death of all the infant Hebrew boys in and around Bethlehem. When Herod dies, and it’s safe for them to come back, an angel comes to Joseph and tells him so. Joseph packs up the family and again, they’re off.
I think about this passage when I’m uncertain of the path that God has put me on. I recently signed up for an in-person, weeklong class at Luther Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota. I wondered if I should do this because I wasn’t sure how I’d pay for my stay while I was there, but I felt this was something I needed to do in answer to God calling me to a Ministry of Word and Service. So, I signed up for it and started looking for trains and hotels. Then I received an email from the Deaconess Community. They made some grant money available to me to pay for my transportation, food & lodging!
When God calls you to do things, He finds a way to make it possible!
Miracle Good News
I had noticed that Room 3 wasn’t heating properly. I consulted (as I often do) with Bill Hoffman who knows all things about the church’s heating system. I’ve just learned or been reminded that Bill was a long- time employee of Johnson Controls, the company that he recommended that I call.
I called to schedule for service and Justin from Johnson Controls was at Grace on December 21. He spent some time but was unable to determine a source of the problem. Terrible weather intervened and I had decided we would just have to wait to resolve this situation.
On December 23 as snow was falling and blowing, along with frigid temperatures, Justin called me to say he would like to look again at the problem and shared concerns for possible frozen pipes. I agreed to be at Grace with hopes of a resolution. A blocked valve was found, made functional, and heat was restored to Room 3.
I would like to say thank you from Grace to both Bill Hoffman and Justin, who are both men of Johnson Controls, for their good information and persistence.
And further information from Bill, “If you are in a room with a thermostat and doors, the doors should be closed to maintain heat.” And although I agree, remember the statement came from Bill, not Connie.
Grace Lutheran Church Property Ministry Team Leader.
The Story of Jesus
NWOS Daily Bible Reading Guide
Every year, NWOS puts out a daily Bible reading guide. This year it is the story of Jesus. You can find copies on the table in the back of the Sanctuary, outside the back door of the chapel, or outside the office.
Behind the scenes at Grace …..by Gretchen
- To all who braved the cold, wind and snow and to those who were warm and toasty in their house – how we all enjoyed the wonderful Christmas Eve services. Callie Moore accompanied by Debby Reeb was awesome singing at the 3:00 service.
- The poinsettias were absolutely gorgeous. Thanks to all for supporting Vacation Bible School and to Connie Thomas for ordering.
- The light covering of snow has been covered with the footprints of Grace menagerie and we have also heard what sounds like a thundering heard of squirrels with boots on running around on the roof. We have not had a sighting of the wood chuck on the other side of the fence so hopefully he has moved on to another location far, far away.
- Remember Grace is not the building but the people reaching out to continue God’s Mission.
A+, A-, B+, B- and an O!
Yes, these could be grades we all received in school except for the O. Maybe the O could be an Outstanding??
But they have another meaning! We all have one of these? Do you know what yours is?
If you have not guessed yet – these are blood types. Blood of all types is extremely important to the Red Cross and area hospitals. The shortage has continued since Covid and the hurricane Ian. When Ian hit the majority if not all Blood Drives in Florida were cancelled so that supply to the area was gone.
Please consider helping the Red Cross and members of the community and donate blood on Wednesday January 11 at Grace. The Blood Drive will be held from 1-6 in Brenner Hall.
You can invite family members, friends, neighbors – donors do not need to be members of Grace. It is a great way to give back to the community and does not involve a lot of time and or money.
You can make an appointment on the Red Cross web site or call or email Gretchen at 419-944-5166, firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get you scheduled.
Some other reminders about the cold – even though it is going to hit 60 degrees this next week WE will get another cold snap and hopefully not a severe one but being prepared is important !
Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing the skin and underlying tissues. Early stages are called frost nip and there is no permanent damage to the skin.
Exposed skin is the most vulnerable to frostbite, but it can also affect your hands in gloves and other parts of your body that are covered. You might not even realize you have frostbite until someone points it out especially on your face.
- At first, cold skin and a prickling feeling
- Skin that looks red, white, bluish – white, grayish – yellow, purplish, brown or ashen which depends on how severe and usual skin color
- Hard or waxy looking skin
- Clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness
- Blistering after rewarming in severe cases
Frostbite is most common on fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin.
There are several stages to frostbite :
Frostnip – is a mild form of frostbite. Continued exposure to cold leads to numbness. As your skin gets warm you may feel pain and tingling. Frostnip does not cause permanent damage.
Superficial frostbite – Causes a slight change in color. The skin may began to feel warm which is a sign of more serous skin problems. If you treat frostbite by rewarming at this stage to surface of the skin is mottled (patchy) looking. You may notice the stinging, burning and swelling. A blister may show up 12-36 hours after rewarming.
Deep (severe) frostbite – as frostbite continues it affects all layers of the skin as well as the tissues that lie below. The skin can turn white or blue-gray and you can lose all sensation of cold, pain, or discomfort in the area. Joints and muscles stop working. Large blisters can appear 24-48 hours after rewarming. The tissue turns hard and black as it dies.
What to do!
Get medical attention (call your doctor or go to the Emergency Room)
- signs and symptoms of superficial or deep frostbite
- increased pain, swelling, inflammation or blisters that open and drain
- signs and symptoms of hypothermia – intense shivering, slurred speech ,drowsiness and loss of coordination
- remove wet clothing
- remove rings or anything that could become tight with swelling
- protect the area from the cold
- don’t walk on frostbitten feet
- wrap the person with hypothermia in warm blankets
DO NOT APPLY DIRECT HEAT LIKE A HEATING PAD, HOT WATER, HEAT LAMP as these can cause a burn and make it mush worse.
DO NOT RUB as it can cause tissue damage.
Don’t break blisters as the fluid is mother nature’s way of healing and opening the blister can lead to an infection.
You can put hand or foot in warm water NOT HOT until color becomes a red purple. The key is a gentle rewarming.
Are you really prepared for winter ???
Come and see if you pass winter preparedness! Check out the stage area in Fellowship Hall during fellowship on January 8!
Have a Blessed New Year!
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!