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Mt Carmel United Methodist Church
December 23, 2014

I'll Be Home for Christmas

I”ll be home for Christmas.

Or not. 

When our children were young, Ed and I tried to visit both sets of grandparents for Christmas. We would do Christmas morning at one home, and then travel five to six hours to the other grandparent that afternoon. We didn’t want to disappoint the grandparents. 

For years, I have wished that I had simply said “no” and spent Christmas at home. I just could not bear the guilt of hearing that Christmas morning was like any other day without the grandchildren here. 

So we trekked five hours, and I was angry that instead of enjoying presents, enjoying the moment, as soon as the presents were open it was time to load the car. I wasn’t happy about the comments that came from Matt and Mark in the back seat—“Mom, he’s touching me!” and “how much longer until we get there?” 

Yet this year, I’m thinking about this differently. There were people in our lives that we love, and we made time for them. It wasn’t perfect. But that’s ok. 

It’s when times aren’t perfect that we make memories. You probably know this too, that if a Christmas (or a wedding or graduation) goes perfectly, there is nothing to laugh about later. 

We laugh about watching Star Wars in the car every year (it is your destiny!) We tell stories about the year the Christmas tree fell during the night three nights in a row. Dad was so irritated that he hammered the tree stand into the floor. It did not fall again. 

We laugh about the Christmas Eve spent out in the driveway putting together a basketball goal. Who knew that it would take so long to put that together? Or that it could get so cold in the south? 

Luke tells us, several times, that “Mary treasured these things in her heart”. What all did she treasure? Certainly she thought often of the initial visit of an angel saying that she would have a child. No doubt she smiled, thinking of her cousin Elizabeth, whose baby had leapt in the womb, joyful at the visit of the baby in Mary. And then the visit of shepherds and their tale of angels sing glory to God! 

I suspect that later she would look back on the hard trip to Bethlehem, and eventually treasure this too. Maybe she and Joseph would laugh later at there being no room and having to use a manger for a crib. 

Did she ever get to the point where she treasured the comments of those who accused her of adultery? After all, someone told Joseph that she was with child. Was it a friend or a family member who made this accusation? I hope that she reached the time when she could forgive, and treasure, the speaker, even if she did not treasure the words. 

Christmas is never perfect. Every day, whether or not it’s Christmas, involves imperfect people. And if we list all the imperfect people, we start the list with our own names! 

If the world were perfect, we wouldn’t need the Christ child. If we were perfect, we would not need the birth of someone named “Emmanuel, God with us” because we would be living a with God life already. Take a moment to think about the imperfections of this year’s Christmas. What can you laugh about later on? Maybe you could begin to laugh about this now. 

Who have you lost? Who will you miss this Christmas? Perhaps for a moment we could grieve and give thanks for past times together. We could trust in God to be with us in the loneliness. 

Who do you need to forgive? Yourself? Another person? We can remember that Jesus enters our world in order to offer forgiveness and new life as children of God. There is no need to be afraid of sin or death. There is no need to be afraid of forgiving. 

It’s almost Christmas. It will not be perfect. But that’s ok. We aren’t depending on being in the right place or with perfect people or even acting perfectly. We are trusting God to be present, and that the presence of God is enough. We are trusting that Emmanuel is what we need most.

With love for you, and warm wishes for a merry Christmas,

Pastor Cyndi
In the Newsletter this Week:
  • From the Pastor
  • Bulletin Covers
  • 10:30 Service & Lunch: December 28
  • Staff Christmas Card
  • Angel Tree Follow Up
  • Altar Flowers for 2015
  • Children's Ministry
  • Save Your Christmas Cards!
  • Women's Book Club
  • Studies to Begin / Resume in January
  • Soup for Trinity Soup Kitchen
  • Men's Retreat: February 6 - 8
  • Thank You
  • Prayers / Thanksgivings

Sunday's Bulletin Cover

Thank you to Matthew Follmer for providing last Sunday's bulletin cover showing the Angel announcing Jesus' birth to Joseph.  "Marry Mary - this Jesus is special."

Sunday: December 28 - 10:30 only - Epiphany Service and New Year's Lunch

There will be an Epiphany worship service at 10:30 AM on the Sunday after Christmas. Children are invited to dress as royal visitors and process in as “Wise Persons” and then go to Sunday School after the Children’s Sermon. (See Marian Long if you need a costume!)

Afterwards, everybody is invited to a COVERED DISH LUNCH in the Fellowship Hall. Bring a dish to share from your traditional New Year's meal. Drinks will be furnished.

Merry Christmas from the Mt. Carmel Staff!

May God bless you and your family on this very special day. Merry Christmas!

With love from all of us,

The Mt. Carmel Staff:  Cyndi, John, Marian, Lorrie, Suzanne, Johnny, Charles, Chris & Lamar

Angel Tree Follow Up

We have received the following notes from two of the schools whose students were represented on our Angel Tree.  Thank you all for your help!

Thank you so much for the holiday gift help.  I wish you could see the smiling faces and hear the heartfelt thank you from our families as they have been picking up their gifts. We hope you and your families have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sherry Ferguson - School Counselor
Ferguson Elementary

Thank you so very much for the generous donation to help our families!!  We have a lot more homeless families this year so your gifts were right on time to support the vast need.  Thanks again for thinking of us!  Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

Denise Thomas
Rockbridge Elementary

Time to Sign Up for Altar Flowers

If you would like to have altar flowers placed in honor or in memory of someone in 2015, please contact the church office for available Sundays.  

Each arrangement is $40 and can be taken home after the 11:00 service if you wish.

And thank you to our wonderful volunteers who arrange the flowers also!  Susan Posey, Jacque Tapley, Dick Thompson and Lois Salter.

Children's Ministry

Sunday December 28th: 
One service at 10:30 AM 
Children are invited to dress up as Wise People and process in bearing gifts. I will have costumes available at 10:15 in the History Room in the Sanctuary or you can design your own. After the children’s message we will go downstairs for a combined Sunday School Class. 

Sunday School: 
The lesson this week features the first of our lessons about the Magi. Sometime after Jesus was born, some special visitors came to see Him. These visitors were called Magi. However, they were also known by other names, such as wise men, or kings. 

We will learn about their visit to Mary, Joseph and the young Jesus, make a craft and play some games.

Marian Long, Director of Children's Ministries

What to do with all of those Christmas cards ????

If you have no place to store all of the beautiful cards that you received over the holidays, but feel guilty throwing them away, here is the answer!


This group is always looking for materials to use in upcoming artwork and arrangements for the church and has requested that you bring your Christmas cards (or any greeting cards) by the church office to add to their supply. Thank you!

Women's Book Club

The next meeting of the Book Club will be on Friday, January 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

Please note date and location change.

This month's book is Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller.

All women are invited and January would be a great time to join!
Please contact Vicki Walden or Chris Bolton with any questions.

Trinity Soup Kitchen: January 11

Once again our Youth will serve LOTS of soup, sandwiches and granola bars to the homeless at the Trinity Soup kitchen in Atlanta.

In preparation, LOTS of vegetable beef soup and granola bars are needed, so collection is starting NOW!  If you can provide a gallon or two of soup, or a box of granola bars, please sign up on the Connect Card in Sunday bulletins.
If you need a recipe for the soup, click HERE.

You may begin bringing these to the church in December. Please place the soup in the freezer in the church kitchen and granola on the counter. And remember to mark it with your name. Thank you!

Men's Retreat to Amicalola Falls:  Feb. 6 - 8

All men of the church are encouraged to attend the Men's Retreat weekend in February.  The group will travel to Amicalola Falls and stay in cabins there while enjoying fellowship, a great program, fun and delicious food!

If you'd like to go and need more information, you may contact the church office for contact information for the Men's Club, or see any current Men's Club member. 

Studies to Begin in January

Two new bible studies and one resuming study begin in January.

A Study of the Gospel of Matthew, led by Pastor Cyndi, begins on Monday, Jan. 5th at 7:00 p.m. in the Hope House. 

The “brown bag” lectionary study discussion, led by Pastor Cyndi, will resume meeting and having lunch together on Tuesday, Jan. 6th at 11:30 a.m. in the Hope House. 

The Book of Revelation: Agents of the Apocalypse, led by Neil Odom, begins with Orientation on Wednesday, Jan. 7th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 112/114. 

Please contact the church office for more information on any of these studies.

Thank You Very Much!

Thank you to everyone for the prayers, cards, calls and visits during my recovery from surgery.

It is great to be back with you all in church again!

Linda Anglin

Prayers and Thanksgivings

Please join with others in our church family in praying our concerns and thanksgivings this week.

  • Bryant Riviere - traveling from Afghanistan to Fort Bragg due to a medical issue
  • All holiday travelers
  • Melanie Bagwell - knee surgery
  • Chris Bolton's friend Beth: hospice care - not doing well
  • Jacque Tapley's father & mother
  • Josh, Katie & Emory Riviere: moving into new home
  • Jenny Jensen's cousin: cancer
  • Alston Minor's co-worker's sister: ill
  • Janis Hoge's friend: paralyzed in auto accident
  • Grady White: former member in Warm Springs Hospital
  • Family of Pam Bier: former Preschool teacher - died on Monday, December 22
  • Michelle Hammond: thankful for Mt. Carmel
  • Birthdays of: Eva Proels, Taylor Tucker, Carol Jamieson, Lane Shutt
  • Lisa Long's son Cameron visiting for Christmas
  • Valverde-Jensen's family visiting from Costa Rica
  • Lorrie Ignatius thanks Judy Bagwell for sewing and gifts for Preschool children and teachers
  • Kathleen Moore's dog ate raisins but is OK
Every week:
  • Prayers
  • Worship this week
  • Birthdays and Anniversaries
  • Save the Date
  • Counseling Center
  • Norcross Cooperative

Sunday's Lesson
This week in worship the lesson will be:

Matthew 2:1-12

Birthdays this week:

Taylor Tucker
Alexa Whitlow
Diane Smith
Gene Weeks
Ken Smith
Sara Rogers
Kevin Weeks
Nicole Yearwood
Joyce Odom

No anniversaries this week.

Save the Date

6:30 AND 11:30 PM

DEC. 24 - JAN.1

DECEMBER 28 - 10:30 AM

DECEMBER 28 - 11:30 AM

JANUARY 4 - 9:30 & 11 AM

JANUARY 4 - 3:30 PM

JANUARY 4 - 4:30 PM
ROOM 112/114

JANUARY 4 - 5:15 - 7:30 PM

JANUARY 5 - 7:00 PM

JANUARY 6 - 11:30 AM

JANUARY 7 - 5:30 PM

JANUARY 7 - 7:00 PM
ROOM 112/114

JANUARY 7 - 7:00 PM

JANUARY 7 - 7:00 PM

JANUARY 9 - 7:00 PM


JAN. 16 - 19


JANUARY 23 - 8:30 - 5:30

JANUARY 25 - 1:30 PM
ROOM 112/114

Guest Password

If you need to access the internet in one of the church buildings, you will need to sign in using a Guest Password.  

The current password is:  barbecue

Family Wellness
through Counseling, Education and Research

Mt. Carmel proudly supports the North Georgia Family Counseling Center.


As one of the founding churches of NCM, we encourage your support assisting those in need in our area.

Help with the most urgent needs.

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Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church
5100 South Old Peachtree Road
Norcross, Georgia 30092

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