ONE Service on December 31st @ 10:30am

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”  – Rainer Maria Rilke
On this fourth day of Christmas it might be helpful to point out that our most powerful understanding of the Bethlehem event revolves around the future rather than the past. We get caught up, understandably, in the sentimentality of the season. We can imagine that scene of long-ago: the stars bright, the animals gentle and curious, the Holy Family faithful and at peace. We have vivid personal memories of a past Christmas which seemed perfect. For many of us, it takes only the sound of a carol or the look in a child’s eye to create a spasm of emotion that somehow manages to be both joyful and weepy at the same time. And yet the biblical message is relentlessly about the future; about possibilities not yet perceived; about hope in the midst of all that has gone wrong. It is about what is yet to be.
To Rilke’s line, I would add, “And full of the promise the Angel gave to Joseph: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.’” As we stumble from Christmas into the new year, exhausted and anxious, may we be continually renewed by God’s promise to be with us in all things. My wish for you is not a “happy” new year but a “pregnant” new year, full of things that have never been but also full of God’s presence and grace and love.
From Rev. Don Underwood


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About Dr. Allen Stewart

Dr. R. Allen Stewart was appointed to Hartwell First United Methodist Church in 2003.  His gifts of preaching and teaching are being utilized every Sunday and throughout the week as he leads this dynamic and growing congregation.  Allen is a devoted husband to his wife Tracey and father to three beautiful daughters, Lauren, Taylar, and Ashton.  His vision for Hartwell First UMC is to be the church that God shall have us be.  Nothing more and nothing less.  He is called to help persons to find their role in church and thus, in life.  He works in the community of Hartwell and Hart County on various community support groups and committees.  

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