December 5, 2018

Pastor Cathy Daharsh

Happy Advent to you! Advent is a time of waiting, anticipating and hoping. Our theme this Advent Season is Bright Stars of Bethlehem and this week’s focus is Star of Creation.

During this month we are encouraging our congregation to join us in reading the devotion book, “The Bright Star of Bethlehem.” We have extra copies at church if you didn’t get a chance to pick one up. The devotion book is written with Bethlehem Pastor Mitra Rahab and the Bright Stars of Bethlehem. “The Bright Star of Bethlehem is a U.S. 501c organization founded in 2003 to promote and to bring awareness to the many hope-filled ministries of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, to build hope and a brighter future for Palestine.” (Pg. 2, The Bright Star of Bethlehem: Devotions for Advent)

You’re invited to join us today, Dec. 5 and Wed., Dec. 12 at 7 pm for our Midweek Advent Holden Evening service where you will learn more about, The Bright Star of Bethlehem ministries. We will also be taking an offering during both of those services to support their ministry. Following service there will be a snack buffet. This is a beautiful service that offers a time for you to breathe and relax for a moment during this busy time of year. I hope you can come.

Star of Creation

Wednesday, First Week of Advent

The Bright Star of Bethlehem Devotion

The Mindfulness of God

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the starts which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him? – Psalm 8:3-4

After church on Sunday in Bethlehem, I was invited home for dinner, by a woman I met at coffee hour. Over dinner, she and her husband talked about their concerns for their children, their own safety and their future in this war-torn place. “We feel trapped like animals in a cage. Are we not human beings?” they said in desperation.

Just then a neighbor came by to take the kids to the pool at Dar Al-Kalima Health and Wellness Center. “If it weren’t for Pastor Mitri and the activities at the Center, our children would have nothing positive to do, “said this mother. “ We are so very grateful.”

It was in that moment when my commitment to support and participate in the ongoing work of the church in Bethlehem tightened its hold on my heart. Our God is mindful of us and works through us to care for all who feel “like animals in a cage.”

The international Center of Bethlehem and the various ministries there offer care and hope to the people of Bethlehem. In a speech giving in acceptance of the German Media Award, Pastor Mitri Raheb spoke about the necessity of “creating spaces for life: spaces where people can breathe,” where children can explore their abilities and stretch their wings, where young adults can learn how to express their dreams and frustrations in music and dance, where God’s mindfulness for us as his creations is expressed and experienced.

PRAYER

Jesus, Star of Creation, thank you for being mindful of us. Help us to create spaces in this world where your blessings can be found. Amen.  – Bonnie Van Overbeke