What a fun time we had driving to Art UMC Sunday…in the rain!! I just wanted to hop out of the truck and start “Singing In The Rain”, except I don’t sing very well and didn’t want to startle anyone or be late for church! It was wonderful though, like a blast from the past, “of days gone by when it rained”! Speaking of a blast from the “not so long ago past”, Art UMC members, Nathaniel and Wanda Jordan graciously allowed us to take their picture standing in front of the old Art Post Office boxes. Many of you may remember Nathaniel was the Art Postmaster from 1975 to 2002. Just think of all the times you were greeted by this smiling face when you dropped off or picked up your mail. Nostalgic memories…….oh how we love them!Happy Birthday wishes go to Katherine Koock on Dec. 6th, Wendy Jordan on the 8th, Joyce Mutschink on the 9th, Kenneth Kothmann on the 11th, Logan Toone on the 12th, and Dakota Dyess on the 13th. Let the celebrations begin!Please keep Kathy Jordan and her daughter and grandchildren in your prayers as they return from San Diego. Also for E. Wayne, as he is not feeling well. Prayers continue for Mr. Mendoza, John’s business associate, for Charlie Morris, John Ceynowa, Destiny Franklin, Payton Martinez, the Wenzel Twins, and their parents. Thank you for all your prayers and concerns for Ron’s sister Louise Trainer, who lost her husband Jerry unexpectedly the day before Thanksgiving. Our homebound and nursing home folks are so special. Please continue prayers and greetings for Pearl Leifeste, Anna Grace Durst, Dick Pierson, Etta Marie Mutschink, and Johnita Bohmfalk, especially during the holidays. Our thoughts and prayers are always with our service men and women, Kyle Pierce, Stuart Jordan, Matt Krause, Taylor Slocum, Josh Calhoun, and Amanda Adams. Some will be with their loved ones this Advent season and some will not. God bless all of them and their dedication to our country.We have so many announcements this week. Our Christmas Program practice will be at 6pm this Wed. Dec.7th. Come one come all to the Art UMC & Parsonage Open House next Saturday, Dec.10th at 6pm. There will be a fun (actually, I’ve heard it’s hilarious) Chinese Christmas gift exchange. To participate in the gift exchange, please bring a small gift. Ladies will tag their gift for a lady and gentlemen will tag their gift for a gentleman. We welcome all to come join us. Don’t forget to bring cookies on Sunday Dec.11th for the Food Bank boxes. Please sort your cookies by placing six cookies in a small zip-loc bag. Please help, we need lots of cookies. Art UMC will be handing out food boxes at the Food Bank from 3 to 5:30pm on Mon. Dec. 12th. Pastor Cliff has reminded us that the cupboard at the Food Bank is not abundant, so if you are able, please donate food by taking it to a local church. There will also be a Board of Trustee’s meeting on Monday Dec.12th at 6pm. So, a busy afternoon and evening scheduled for Monday the 12th! The Art UMW Christmas Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 13th at Joyce Mutschink’s home. Please bring a covered dish or dessert and join us. For those interested in attending, the San Angelo District Office Open House will be Thursday, Dec. 15th from 4 to 6pm. Anyone wishing to participate in the Angel Tree Christmas gifts for needy children in our area may pick up one of the Angel Tree Cards in the sanctuary. You may choose the age and gender of the child for whom the gift will be given. The gifts will need to be dropped by Art UMC or Mason First United Methodist Church by Sunday, Dec.18th.Pastor Cliff included interesting information in our Sunday bulletin about the Advent Wreath. We are reminded that Advent is the time of year when we wait for God to come (vent) to (ad) us. It’s a time to remember that Jesus is with us AND Jesus is coming. When God makes a promise, we know it will happen just because God has said it. Our candles are a reminder to us that God is faithful. The Advent Wreath has five candles, three are blue, one is pink, and one is white. One candle is lit each Sunday in Advent, with the pink candle being lit on the third Sunday in Advent. When the candles from the previous weeks are relit, it’s symbolic of the arrival of Christ bringing light into darkness. Week before last, the first Sunday of Advent, Jan and Max Jordan lit the Prophecy Candle. It reminded us of the prophets who foretold Christ’s birth, especially Isaiah. This candle is also called the “hope” candle. This past Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent, Nathaniel and Wanda Jordan lit the Bethlehem Candle, symbolic of the Christ Child’s cradle. This candle is also called the “love” candle. We will continue to light each candle during the coming Sunday’s, with the last one being lit on Christmas Eve. It is noted that our Lutheran Brothers and Sisters in Eastern Germany first started the Advent Wreath as a Christian religious custom.For the 2nd Sunday of Advent, Pastor Cliff had two scripture lessons along with the Gospel of Mark 1:1-8. The first scripture lesson was Isaiah 40:1-11. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah during what was a very difficult time for the Hebrew people. So many had turned away from God, sinfulness was rampant, Babylon had taken their land, many of their people and leaders had been deported, starvation and devastation everywhere. They were God’s people, but they turned away from Him. How could that be? They were in the depths of despair. Through Isaiah, God gave mercy, love and restoration. Even today, like back then, during rough, uncertain, and questionable times, He still offers restoration, redemption, renewal, hope and love. What an awesome God we have!In the Gospel reading of Mark 1:1-8, we are reminded that it has been 400 years since Malachi said God would send a Messiah. God’s people are divided. Some of the more radical Jews have revolted against the brutal Roman government. Some say, ’Keep the faith, God has promised a Messiah.” Others say, “Make peace with the Romans and submit to their ways.” The situation is bad. Then the reassuring good news arrives. The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. John the Baptist speaks of the One to come. There is Hope. John emphasizes repentance, the turning from sin to righteousness. God grants forgiveness when there is repentance. Pastor Cliff suggests that we “look for” Jesus. Find Him in our thoughts, words, and deeds this Advent and Christmas. We can ‘find Him” by honoring Him and sharing His message to so many who desperately need to know Him and His promise.The second scripture lesson was 2nd Peter3:8-9, 13-18, after the resurrection of Jesus, and Pentecost. Before Jesus ascended, He said He would return. The Holy Spirit would be poured out on everyone. God did what He promised and more. These early Christians thought Jesus would return “soon”. Many of the early church leaders were being martyred and persecuted thus making the followers become impatient. As was back then and still true today, our time is not the same as God’s time. God reminds them and us through Peter that He is patient, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. We, as God’s people have more time to share the Good News before His return.