Thursday, December 23, 2010
Christmas Eve is my favorite worship service of the year. Last Saturday at a staff party, I was asked to share a favorite Christmas memory. The first thoughts that came to my mind were the Christmas Eve services that we celebrated at the previous church I served—Community Presbyterian Church in Plainview. We poured ourselves into Christmas Eve worship. We would often double our usual attendance on Christmas Eve. Many new people came to our congregation for the first time during Christmas Eve worship.
I encourage everyone who lives in the north Metro to join us at Chain of Lakes for Christmas Eve worship. Everyone is encouraged to come for a time of fellowship at 6:00 p.m. at our worship location—the Lino Lakes Senior Center, 1189 Main Street in Main, located about a half-mile east of the intersection of Main (#242) and Lake Drive (#23). We will enjoy hot apple cider, cookies, and have Christmas carols playing in the background.
We will begin worship at 6:30 p.m. We will enjoy special music shared by Kellie Burriss and Hannah Moore, I’m writing a sermon that is designed for someone who doesn’t normally go to church, and we’ll celebrate Holy Communion. We will close worship by singing “Silent Night” and lighting candles amidst the dark sanctuary. Child care will be available.
We have advertised heavily for this service and mailed a large number of designed cards for the service. On the card we put the slogan, “start a new tradition with a new church.” If you normally do not attend worship, I invite you to join us at Chain of Lakes for Christmas Eve worship.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Ten years ago today at 10:38 a.m. Hannah Louis Moore came into the world. We were experiencing a snow storm outside, but inside Methodist Hospital in Rochester, MN my wife, Amy, and my heart were warmed by the gift of our new daughter. I’ll never forget seeing the nurse holding Hannah after she was born and thinking, “wow, she’s finally here.” Hannah came nine days after her due date, and for a while I wasn’t sure if Hannah ever was going to arrive.
Amy has said often that the person who is forgotten on a birthday is the mother. The mother had to carry the child for an extended period of time. Few people remember this on a birthday. Let me share a tribute and appreciation to Amy for carrying Hannah and for all that she experienced in the months following Hannah’s birth. Few women deliver a baby while their other child, Drew, is in their senior year of high school. Six months after Hannah was born, June 2001, we celebrated Drew’s graduation from high school. Eight months after Hannah was born, August 2001, we moved to a new house in Rochester. Nine months after Hannah was born, September 2001, we watched with horror as the Twin Towers fell.
For each of the past four years of Hannah’s birthday I’ve written a letter to her on her birthday. This year I shared with Hannah my pride about her singing skills. Hannah is singing for the choir at Chain of Lakes Church, St. Joseph Catholic Church—her choir director their called Hannah one of her alpha leaders, and a honors choir through the school district. Hannah has the ability to stand up in front of a large number of people and sing.
Hannah has grown in her love for reading this year. It’s not surprising if she’ll pick some books and spend a hour reading them. I’m looking forward to reading and talking about books with her as she continues to grow.
For lunch today I drove over to Johnsville Elementary and shared a Subway Sandwich with Hannah. She told me that Beethoven has the same day of birth as her. Wow!
One of my favorite pictures in the world is the above picture. This was taken shortly after Hannah came into the world. I still remember how comfortable she felt in my arms.
Thank you, God, for giving Amy & me the gift of a daughter!
Monday, December 13, 2010
The worst blizzard I remember was the Great Blizzard of January 10-12, 1975. I was a 5th grader attending West Elementary School in Worthington, Minnesota. January 10th was a Friday, and we were let go from school early. The blizzard lasted almost until Sunday. The electricity went out in my house. Temperatures were in the 20 below range and the wind chill was 80 below. We received at least a foot of snow. And the wind!! It never seemed to stop howling.
I eventually got bored during the blizzard, so I walked outside to see how fierce the storm was. I waded through waist-high snow drifts on our 50 foot driveway. At the end of the driveway I fell over. I was too tired to go any farther. At that moment I developed a healthy and fearful respect of Nature that I’ve carried with me until this day. I still remember lying on the snow, looking up at the sky, and thinking that I was not ever going to mess with Nature.
During the first night of the blizzard my family walked down the street to visit with our neighbors. After walking half a block I picked out ice cycles from my eye lashes.
Sunday, January 12th was the first time I ever remember missing church because of the weather. My family had a short worship service around our kitchen table. I probably prayed for the Vikings as they lost later that afternoon to the Steelers in Super Bowl IX.
This past weekend’s blizzard wasn’t as frightening as that one, but it still packed a large punch. I would guess we received about 18 inches of snow at our house in Blaine. The storm was the 5th biggest snowstorm in the Twin Cities since records were kept.
Amy, Hannah, and I spent almost all of Saturday inside our house. I did go outside to shovel three times on Saturday. Fortunately the temperature didn’t drop until Saturday night, so the shoveling was not that cold. After the third time I shoveled Friday night I wrote on my Facebok wall that I was worn out.
Sunday morning I got up at 6:00 a.m. to shovel for the fourth time. I was very fortunate that my neighbor was blowing out his driveway just as I started to shovel. He came over to help blow out the rest of my driveway. Thank God for friendly neighbors!
After I finished shoveling on Sunday I drove over to the Senior Center to see if we would be able to worship on Sunday. Fortunately the workers from the City of Lino Lakes had sufficiently plowed out the parking lot and had created a lane so that we could get to the front door. Without their work we would not have been able to worship.
Our attendance yesterday was very low—and understandably so. As I drove away from worship at about noon I saw many people still blowing out their drive ways. I’m sure many people at Chain of Lakes were not able to get out of their driveway on Sunday morning.
My parents’ furnace went out during this blizzard. They endured temperatures in the 50’s in their house. My sister and I encouraged them to stay in a hotel for a night, but they were made of the same stock as many other hearty Midwesterners. They were going to grin and bear it.
Last night Amy, Hannah, and I watched the movie “White Christmas.” None of us need to wonder whether a white Christmas will happen in 2010.