Jewell Ann


Dear Friends in Christ:

It seems impossible to me that I have been at South Plains for seven months now. I have come to know and to love this congregation; you have allowed me to stand on holy ground with you. When I began as your interim, it was May, and the peonies were about to bloom. Now, I can hear the rumble of the church furnace as I write this, as it prepares for another year of service.

Perhaps with the exception of spring in Virginia, late fall is my favorite time of year. I love the smells and textures of the season, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, the full harvest moon in late October, and the brisk, sunny days. For some, though, an uneasy feeling settles upon them when the time changes, shadows lengthen, and daylight hours grow shorter. When the frost clips the geraniums and the marigolds (those hardy holdouts), it can be hard to look be- yond immediate decay. However, if I look closely at the bare branches of the nearest deciduous tree, I can see buds tightly packed on those branches waiting patiently for spring’s warming sun when they will burst forth into blossom.

When we begin the season of Advent, we also begin a time of waiting and of expectation. God inspired the prophets to foretell of God’s great promise of a Messiah. Generations of peoples have lived in expectation, knowing that Christ will return because God is a God of promises kept. As John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, so we, too, need to prepare ourselves for his coming.

We can also remember those for whom the holiday season is not a happy one. Some will have lost a loved one and this is their first Christmas without that per- son; some have unhappy childhood memories because of emotional stress or poverty; others may not have had their children with them during the Christmas season because of divorce. This is the time when we can reach out to individuals and to families who may need to be assured that God has not forgotten them.

The seasons of the earth and this season of Advent remind us once more that God is the God of all seasons, both of the earth, and of our lives. My Advent prayer for each one of you is that your hearts fill with joy and gladness as we realize that Christ’s Advent will soon take place. I pray that each of our lives brims with the certainty of God’s love, revealed through the coming of the Christ-Child, and that the spirit of this Child dominates our lives in every way.

Blessing to all in this season of expectation,