Bethany Renew
Midweek Email Devotion
24 November 2015  

I welcome you to Bethany Renew! This is our church's weekly online connection on the topic of spiritual renewal.  
Every midweek, you will receive a devotion, a prayer, or an essay that are intended to stir up conversations and ideas of how we will proceed on the path of renewal. Feel free to forward this email to anyone who you think will be interested in receiving these readings.  You are welcome to respond or make comments, or otherwise just sit back and enjoy your weekly readings and reflections!  

Nov. 26
Thanksgiving Community Dinner
4-7 p.m. 
To donate, participate, or attend contact Jeremy or Bella

10:00 a.m.
(Schedule for December will be announced later)

Walking the Road To Bethlehem
A 5-week Advent Bible Study  
(Starts Dec. 2). Sign up on Sunday or reply to this email.

Dec. 18 
Blue Christmas
(6 p.m.)
A Christmas event that comforts the soul. Receive Christ's love. Everyone's welcome. (for more details, contact Joanne)

The tree behind us in the picture above has an interesting story. Two years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, a tree in front of the Sitka parsonage was broken from the middle half and was dangling on the electric cable. The fire department came and they cut off the tree in pieces. We decided to keep the upper portion and turned it into a Christmas tree.
But it's not just a Christmas Tree. Because it was given to us on Thanksgiving, we looked at it as our Thanksgiving Tree. Well, also because it gave us a beautiful thanksgiving reflection:
...that from a dangling broken tree, which is a symbol of disorder, danger, or brokenness, to a Christmas tree-a symbol of peace, an emblem of calmness, a messenger of serenity.
And if God can use a broken tree to be a channel of peace, we are thankful, that by that amazing grace, God can also do the same with you and me.
This Thanksgiving, I invite you to be mindful of the many ways God's grace have become evident in your life. That in spite of our own brokenness, heaven's blessings are still abundantly bestowed--the love of family, the gift of friendship, the faithful provisions, and the joy of salvation. These we celebrate with grateful hearts!
Also, as I mentioned last Sunday, I encourage you to be more intentional in appreciating the people who loved you most. Like my story of the broken tree--turned Christmas tree--God has given us friends and loved ones who helps us manifest our best selves, even from a place and season of brokenness. Make sure they know that they are appreciated.
And so as we go into the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving season, and as we gather around our thanksgiving dinner table, make sure to offer a prayer of thanks, and to be mindful in our conversations to include some words of gratitude and appreciation to the people who loves us most.
From me and my family, have a great Thanksgiving! And if you're coming, we'll see you on our Community Thanksgiving Dinner!
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Pastor Ferdie Llenado
Bethany United Methodist Church
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