3rd week of Advent — “Blessing, or Being Blessed?”

Upside-Down Advent 2015By Ivonne Lindley

My parents had the good sense to raise me to speak both Spanish and English. As a result, I now have many opportunities to use my bilingual abilities. I speak to my clients in Spanish every day as an attorney, and sometimes I use my Spanish volunteering in the Latino community.

Reverend Rachel recently called upon me (and my bilingual abilities) to volunteer as a translator at a local elementary school in a large Latino community. The Principal needed translators to assist teachers meeting with Spanish speaking parents during the first quarter parent/teacher conferences. So, I signed up, and arrived at the school ready to help others. But after a few hours there, I was the one who left feeling blessed.

Over several hours, I had the opportunity to be the person who delivered the news to parents that their child was doing well, was working hard, and was having a great experience in school. I got the privilege of seeing up close and personal the look of true joy and pride on the parent’s face upon learning that their child — who never got to go to preschool, or who lives in a home where no one speaks English, or who didn’t know the alphabet before September — now knew 20 out of 30 sight words, could easily recite their ABCs, was “proficient” in several skills, was engaged in class, or was enjoying learning each day.

After starting the night feeling like I was there for “yet another thing I signed up to do,” I left there feeling overwhelmed with emotion — feeling blessed by the chance to spend a few hours with those teachers and parents — reminded of the importance of effort, gratitude, humility.

We serve God when serve others and I can’t wait to volunteer again.
Please join us for our Advent and Christmas services.

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3rd Week of Advent
December 13, 2015

Luke 3:7–18
7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely —
be content with your pay.”
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[a] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.