Pastor Mary's office hours are: Monday 10-2pm Tuesday 9-12 and Wednesday 12-3 If you'd like to meet outside these hours, please call ahead to be sure she is in the office. Contact by church phone (715-879-5115), home phone (715-309-4065) or by email at:

December 2017

This year I found some inspiration about Advent through one of the online worship resources I use, Sundays and Seasons. The "Preparing for Advent" article reminded me of the opposing messages we experience between that of the Advent church season - and the chaotic pace of society's Christmas season. The season of Advent encourages us to slow patient and thoughtful participants in a season focused on the anticipation of Jesus' return to earth to usher in eternity. Yet, as we know all too well, during these same four weeks, our lives are filled with: shopping, pageants, school programs, sporting events, and parties. All these responsibilities can stretch us beyond what our energy and time can handle. So while society urges us to hurry and spend...scripture and Christian traditions beckon us to slow down and wait. Sundays and Seasons 2018, Year B, copyright (c) 2017 Augsburg Fortress.

I personally feel this tug of war in my own life. As a pastor I want to encourage everyone to slow down and thoughtfully participate in the Advent season...but my December calendar tends to fill up with events and deadlines. This year is a little different, in that I now have a shoulder surgery date set for January there are a lot of extra deadlines to meet before the end of the year. With this date in mind, I sat down to think through a way to deal with this clash between Advent Tradition and Culture try and bring balance - to an imbalanced time of year.

Inspired by the article, I took time to seriously review my December must do events and tasks, along with those would be nice to get to or get done list. The first time through there was an obvious problem...too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. I was forced to go back to square one? That's when I heard the still small voice say, "Why didn't you come to me first? Let's look at this together...remembering that unexpected demands pop up from time to time. Let's look at this together with an honest, clear sense of what kind of energy you REALLY have when it gets dark so early in the evening...remembering this is about when you run out of steam." So with a word of prayer for wisdom said, I went through it all again. In the end, I was able to map out daily tasks, time for self, time for family/friends...all of it providing me a plan of action for the weeks ahead. Of course, all this great planning could fall to the wayside, and I could give into the pressure to do more. For that reason alone, I made sure my 'morning devotion time' was listed as a me time to pray for strength and a clear sense of what is me time to slow down enough to enjoy this wonderful season.

Well, I'm not sure if this plan will work for everyone...but I do encourage each of you to take some time to look at the weeks proactive instead of reactive to the circumstances surrounding the season. Make time to talk to God about the ways you feel pulled to go in directions you feel will not be the best for you...a direction that will most certainly wear you out and could keep from witnessing the beauty of the season and God's presence in your day. Talk with your spouse, significant other and family to find out what is most important to them, and how TOGETHER you can make decisions that will bring you more joy...and a little less stress.

May this season of hope, peace, joy and love be a blessing to you and yours,

Pastor Mary

"Encouraging faith and proclaiming God's love by Gathering, Growing and Giving."

Last updated: December 1st, 2017