The Light of Christmas

by | Dec 13, 2016 | West District Newsletter, West District Web Page

Altar Candles

My Grandfather (“Pop”) and I were standing next to each other in worship Christmas Eve, and as we both held our candles and sang Silent Night, I can still remember looking up into his face and feeling so much love. His face, along with everyone’s around was bathed in light.

Today I’m thinking about the many wonderful ministries that you all are engaged in, one of which has been include in recent DSC communication, The Inn Project.

Last week, our Bishop received a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) representatives for assistance in providing shelter for children and their parents. These are vulnerable asylum and refugee families housed in units around Arizona. ICE requests that the churches help by providing a more humane place to stay as they transition and travel to family members. Estimates indicate between 10 to 50 children and parents at the host sites per day.
While two churches are hosting and sheltering the families, it will take all of us to provide care for these children and their parent. Churches are uniting by providing donations. Money is needed to provide blankets, mats, car seats, food, etc. (Click here to download a PDF list of the Needs list.) If you or your church is interested in contributing, send your monetary contribution to Desert Southwest Conference at 1550 E. Meadowbrook Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85014, with a note in the memo stating The Inn Project. We will also need help with volunteers.
If you would like to volunteer, contact Rolly Loomis at 520-622-6481 or Jamie Booth at 520-327-1116.”

This is a ministry that I encourage you to prayerfully consider supporting in whatever way God guides.

How will we share the light of Christ?

We walk this Advent journey understanding that amidst the trappings of the holidays a deep reality exists, one that speaks of longing and brokenness. I was blessed by a Blue Christmas Worship recently, which offered a service of Light in the Darkness.

Please receive the following prayer from that worship:

O God, we come to you in prayer:
For all who have a song they cannot sing,
For all who have a burden they cannot bear,
For all who live in chains they cannot break,
For all who wander homeless and cannot return,
For those who are sick, and for those who tend them,
For those who wait for loved ones, and wait in vain,
For those who live in hunger,
And for those who will not share their bread,
For those who are misunderstood,
And for those who misunderstand,
For those whose words of love
are locked within their hearts,
And for those who yearn to hear words of love.
Show us the Way, O God,
for we, your people, walk in darkness. Amen.
(Adapted from a prayer by Ann Weems in Soul Weaving: A Gathering of Women’s Prayers)

My prayer is that rather than seeking happiness this Advent, we may seek peace, and not only in our own hearts but for all of God’s children.

Peace of mind for those who are anxious concerning where they will sleep at night.

Peace of body for those who are neglected or abused.

And peace of heart for those who yearn for an intimacy with God.

Thank you all for being messengers of such peace in following God’s call in your lives. The difficult and faithful work that you continue to be about each and every day is noticed and appreciated more than you can imagine.

It is easy to see the light and love of Christ in your faces.

God’s grace and peace to you.
Neil Leftwich Signature
Rev. Neil Leftwich
West District Superintendent

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Author: Carla Whitmire

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