December 2023

 What if I don’t feel joyful?

The most important thing is to give yourself permission to feel whatever feelings you do have.  When we try to override them or silence them, they just seem to get stronger!  Hold them with compassion.  Find a place or a person to talk them through.  Then, if it is possible for you, light a candle.  Let the light fill your heart.  Hear God speak light to your feelings. – Pastor Trudy Stoffel

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Why do we light candles during Silent Night on Christmas Eve?

There is not one single answer, but several! One source suggests that the candles symbolize the stars that guided the shepherd and the wise men to the baby Jesus; another suggests that the candlelight symbolizes the light of Christ; still another suggests that the candles stand in for all the saints that have passed away, those whom we hold in our hearts. In any case, the candles remind us of all the love we carry on the silent night of Jesus’s birth. – Vicar Aaron Musser

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Why did Zechariah go mute?

When the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah that Elizabeth will give birth to baby John, Zechariah asks “how will I know?” And the angel causes Zechariah to go mute until the baby is born. At first glance this muteness seems like a punishment for unbelief, but this is not necessarily so! Physical afflictions aren’t divine punishment for doubt or skepticism; rather, muteness can be understood as a natural response to witnessing the incredible divine presence. We ought to look at other passages for guidance about how to interpret this scene.

“And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be speechless and unable to reprove them; for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God’; let those who will hear, hear; and let those who refuse to hear, refuse; for they are a rebellious house.” (Ezekiel 3:26-27)

Ezekiel cannot speak except on God’s behalf after his visions. Similarly, Zechariah cannot speak until John is born, and he immediately begins to prophesy.

“While [the angel] was speaking these words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and was speechless.” (Daniel 10:15)

Daniel models an apparently natural response to seeing an angel: to turn away speechless. Maybe this is why angels are always saying, “do not be afraid!”

– Vicar Aaron Musser

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What is the significance of the ornaments on the trees at GLC?

The ornaments are called Chrismons, which is a word made by putting the word ‘Christ’ and the word ‘Monogram’ (meaning symbol) together.  All of the ornaments connect us to an aspect of Jesus’ life.  See if you can see the butterfly (resurrection), crosses (crucifixion), palm branches (triumphal entry), lamb (Christ the Passover lamb), and a fish (an early Christian symbol called an ichthes (an acronym where each Greek letter stands for a word- Jesus Christ God’s Son our Savior)).  Have fun looking for your favorite on Sunday. – Pastor Trudy Stoffel

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