A WORD FROM THE PASTOR:
Over Thanksgiving weekend, I watched lots of television—all football—which is something I’m not accustomed to. So consequently, I also got to see lots of commercials during the breaks. One of the most irritating ones I saw was the Target Red Card ad, featuring a Red-Bull-powered couple that bursts out of nowhere as a shopper uses her Red Card to pay for her order. Maybe you’re smiling right now because you saw it, too. And maybe you’re wondering what I’m wondering: What were the Target marketing people thinking?
Anyway, the Target Deals Duet (as they’re officially known—and no, I’m not making this up) sing “Target Red Card! Target Red Card!” to the tune of Handel’s timeless and universally known “Hallelujah” Chorus from his oratorio, Messiah. The strangest and most jarring part of the fifteen-second spot was not when the male portion of the duet shrieks, “Save 5% and get free shipping!” (Wikipedia tells me that the man’s name is Kirby Heyborne, and that he is a well-known Mormon actor and performer; but that’s another article for another day, apparently!) No, the more jarring part was at the end: the singers sing, “It’s on! It’s a sale! Hallelujah! Target Red Card! Hallelujah!”
Now, I don’t know if the writers of this spot don’t know what “Hallelujah” actually means, or if they do, in fact, know, but just don’t care. Because Hallelu Yah is a Hebrew phrase that crops up frequently in the Old Testament, especially the Psalms (see Psalm 111). A loose translation of this second-person-plural imperative would sound like this: “Y’all praise Yah (that is, Israel’s covenant God, aka “the LORD”)!” Or something to that effect. (The traditional rendering has been, “Praise ye the LORD.”) And maybe it’s just me, but I find this invitation to worship the LORD a little strange in a commercial that invites people to come and spend money at their store.
And maybe it’s nothing more than just a confused little fifteen-second ad. But maybe it’s a symbol of our confused culture. Because for us, hyper-consumerism has reached the point of becoming its own religion, complete with rituals (Black Friday, camping out at Best Buy), temples (Target et al), and objects of worship (the best deals/the latest gadgets). I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that we Christians in America have become a bit confused about what Christmas is (hint: it doesn’t start until December 25) and what it’s all about (hint: it’s not just the freedom to put up Nativity scenes, to make sure we say, “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” or the thrill of buying stuff, but it’s about celebrating the mystery of the Incarnation of God the Son).
According to Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, and Greg Holder in their 2009 book Advent Conspiracy, the amount of money Americans spend on Christmas is about 45 times the amount of money it would take to supply the entire world with clean water. No, that is not a mistake. Forty-five times over. That should serve as a sobering wake-up call for any of us who have been mindlessly worshiping at the altar of hyper-consumerism. Maybe it’s time for us Christians to do something different during Advent and Christmas—to make a positive difference, rather than just going along with the culture. And in that respect, maybe the subliminal message of the Target Red Card ad is timely and appropriate: Praise the Lord (and not the stuff).
May your Advent be filled with holy anticipation, and may your Christmastide be bathed in peace, love, and joy.
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
- Our college students
- Denny Spangler & his family
- Eric Liska
- The family of Perry Hoemann
The kids’ Christmas program will be during worship on Sunday, 12/23. Invite your family and friends! Rehearsals will be during church school time on 12/2, 12/9, and 12/16.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
Our Christmas Eve Candlelit Service will be Monday, 12/24, at 5:30 p.m. If you would like to read Scripture, serve as a greeter, or provide music, please contact Pastor Ray.
There will be no session meeting this month. We will meet again on January 28, 2013, including the new class of ruling elders.
WAYNE ROTARY CLUB’S ANNUAL SOUP & DESSERT SUPPER will be Thursday, December 6th, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Wayne City Auditorium. Come for homemade chicken noodle or chili soup, dessert, relishes and a drink. All funds benefit youth programs & scholarship fund. Adults $6, Kids 10 & under $3
RING AROUND WAYNE
Enjoy a Christmas concert on Friday, 12/7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Wayne Armory. The program will feature handbell choirs from FPC, Grace Lutheran, Our Savior Lutheran, and First United Methodist Churches.
The band is getting back together again! We will play during worship on Sunday, 12/16. Please sign up at the Opportunity Table or contact Jay O’Leary to participate (375-2335; firstname.lastname@example.org). Rehearsals will be announced at a later time.
Celebrate our church family on Sunday, December 16, following worship (about 11:15). Bring some food to share, and if you forget, or don’t want to, just get in line, because there’s always plenty!
Join us in sharing the joy of Christ, Wednesday, 12/19th. We will meet at The Oaks at 5:10; after singing for the residents there, we will visit CareAge, possibly Providence Medical Center, and then return to the Fellowship Hall for soup and dessert.
Middle School Youth Group will meet on Wednesday, 12/12, at 7:30 p.m.
And High School Youth Group will meet on Wednesday, 12/5, at 7:30 p.m.
Please note: there will be NO YOUTH GROUP ON DECEMBER 19th & DECEMBER 26TH.
PW will meet on December 5th at 6:30pm. The lesson leader will be Karen Johnson (lesson three). This will also be the Annual Cookie Exchange. In January, PW will meet on January 2nd at 6:00pm. This will be a potluck supper, with a Bible study on lesson four. We invite all women of the church for Bible study, fellowship, and great food!
The Sewing Souls will not meet in December or January. We will set a new schedule for sewing at the PW meeting in January.
Attention high school youth: The Presbyterian Youth Triennium is coming next summer! July 16-20, 2013, at Purdue University. A group from Homestead Presbytery will be traveling out. Homestead Presbytery will pay for the travel expenses, and our session will pay for half of the registration fee, in order to make this amazing experience affordable. Talk to Pastor Ray if you have any questions, and you can visit www.presbyterianyouthtriennium.org for details.
WANTED: HANDBELL CHOIR MEMBERS!
The Presbyterian Pealers Bell Choir is looking for new members. We meet on Sunday mornings at 8:45am. If you are interested, please contact a bell choir member or Jay O’Leary.
ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS GIVING
There are many ways to give to those in need this holiday season—and to avoid the overload of “stuff” on Christmas. Here are some Web sites that will inspire you to give gifts that will make a real difference in people’s lives.
PMC HOLIDAY TREE: Please join the Providence Medical Center in their holiday tradition by honoring your loved one with a ribbon bow on their 17th holiday tree. They will accept any and all donations. Please contact Sandy Bartling at 402-375-3800, ext. 7922.
HOLIDAY SCHEDULE FOR THE CHURCH OFFICE
Pastor Ray will be taking some family time during the week of December 25-January 1st, as well as the church secretary. The church office will be open on December 26th -27th, but will be closed the rest of the week. If you need anything, please feel free to leave a message on the church’s voicemail, or contact one of the church’s elders. Regular office hours will resume on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2013.
SEASON OF LIGHT
The Fred G. Dale Planetarium at Wayne State College will begin its 2012 holiday show Season of Light at 2 and 3 p.m. Dec. 2nd. Season of Light traces the history and development of many of the world’s most endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season. Season of Light will be presented at 6:30 & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 14 and 21, and at 2 & 3 p.m. Dec. 2 and 16. The suggested donation for all shows is $5 for adults and $3 for children. For more information, go to: www.wsc.edu/planetarium. Come and experience the “Season of Lights”!
COAT CLOSET AND FOOD PANTRY
The Coat Closet & Food Pantry needs your help! You can bring your donations to the church office during regular office hours. The Coat Closet can use winter coats for all ages (especially kids), snow pants, snow boots, hats, gloves, and mittens. The Food Pantry is in need of such things as canned fruit, canned meat (tuna, chicken, etc.), soups, pasta, Hamburger Helper, spaghettios and macaroni & cheese! Thanks for your help!
CHRISTMAS JOY OFFERING:
The Christmas Joy Offering will be taken on Sunday, December 23. Whether providing financial assistance to current and former church workers and their families or providing opportunities for deserving students to attend Presbyterian-related racial ethnic colleges and schools, your generous gifts to the Christmas Joy Offering will bring good news of great joy to the poor in circumstance or spirit. Thank you!
2013 NEBRASKA SCIENCE BOWL Teams of young scientists from all over Nebraska will gather at Wayne State College for the annual Nebraska Science Bowl. Middle Schools will meet January 26th, and High Schools will meet February 2, 2013. The competition is fun, fast-paced, and intense as the winning team at each level receives an all expense paid trip to the National Science Bowl in Washington D. C. later in 2013. The goal of the Nebraska Science Bowl as well as the National Science Bowl is to encourage students to excel in science and mathematics. The opening ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m., followed by a round robin competition from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The top four teams in each division will then advance to the double elimination competition, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Medals will be awarded to the top 4 teams.