Thursday, December 4, 2008


One of the many enjoyable aspects of my recent visit to my son in the Pacific Northwest, was the opportunity to attend worship services in new locations. It was especially meaningful to visit the Evangelical Free Church of Mt. Shasta, California, because of their choice of one of the hymns. How appropriate it was that we sang the familiar Christmas hymn, "Go, Tell It on the Mountain!" as we marveled at the beauty of the snow-covered Mt. Shasta that reaches to over 14,000 feet just beyond the church doors (see upper left photo above). Since it was the first Sunday of Advent, the service included lighting the first candle of the traditional Advent wreath. If you didn't grow up in a faith that teaches about the Advent season, here's how Wikipedia describes it: Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming"), is a season in the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus; in other words, the period immediately before Christmas. In the nearby small town of McCloud, California, which also is at the base of Mt. Shasta, the locals were busy getting their churches "spruced up" (literally!) for Christmas. The lower-left photo of the 100+ year-old Presbyterian church in McCloud, shows the spruce-like Christmas tree on its way to adorn a historic sanctuary, while the equally distinctive, brown, log-clad Catholic church across the street (background photo) was undergoing grooming on the outside to prepare for the season. At a nearby retail store, folks were outdoors making wreaths from spruce-like evergreens. I also observed many private vehicles with a spruce-like tree strapped to the top, awaiting the opportunity to become some one's lavishly-adorned Christmas tree. All these activities, made me wonder if this tiny hamlet, nestled among evergreen forests, had been the originator of the term "spruced-up for the holidays"!? Now that I am back home, I feel inspired to get my own house (and more importantly, my life and attitude) "spruced up for the holidays! I pray each of you will take the opportunity to receive God's great gift to us---the birth of his son, Jesus Christ---this Christmas! Blessings! Tricia Turner
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