The Pane: The Unsettling Truth About Joy
Have you ever thought about how insane Mary must have felt with the angel that told her she would give birth to God’s Son? First of all, it’s not every day that you have an encounter with a celestial being. Second, why would God find favor on her, a 13 or 14-year old illiterate peasant from a no-name town? Third, who, what, and how of having God’s child?
And yet, Luke gives us remarkable insight into Mary’s response in 1:46-55. In this beautiful song, we join Mary in this overwhelming joy she felt for what God was doing and for the role she would play in it.
We can learn from Mary that joy is not the absence of discomfort. This young woman will suffer through unimaginable physical, emotional, relational, communal, and spiritual anguish because of saying “Let it be” to God’s choosing of her.
Joy is not a fleeting emotion of happiness that comes and goes based on our present circumstances. Instead, it is forged within our soul, shaped and formed by God that desires to equip us to experience it no matter the circumstances.
God’s good work within our soul creates a great capacity for conscious awareness. Mary was able to see through the challenging nature of her circumstances with a greater understanding of what all of this meant, not only for herself and Joseph but also for the entire world. Joy is a conscious awareness of God, God’s presence in our lives, God’s unseen work around us, and God’s leadership before us.
In our journey with God, as we become more attuned to God’s voice, word, and way, we can see through the cling and the clatter of life’s ups and downs that this too shall pass.
This is why James could write, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (1:2) or Peter states, “In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1:6).
Maybe, as we sing “Joy to the World” this season, we have a greater understanding of just how complex and necessary the characteristic of joy is for our lives. Maybe, the gift we need most in the unsettling context of this pandemic is God’s gift of joy.
Free Live Nativity and Outdoor Movie on December 10th
UBC will host a free Live Nativity and Outdoor Movie on Friday, December 10. The Live Nativity will take place on the ballfield parking lot, 5:00-6:30 pm. The Outdoor Movie will premiere at 7:00 pm, showing The Polar Express.
With a food truck opening at 5 pm and free popcorn available before the movie, you are invited to make a night of it by bringing blankets and lawn chairs.
Highland Christmas Book Wrapping
Individuals and Sunday school classes are invited to help with the annual Highland Christmas Book Wrapping.
We ask the wrappers to bring a roll of Christmas wrapping paper, a pair of scissors, a roll of scotch tape, and their Christmas spirit!
If the books do not arrive on time, we will reschedule the wrapping party.
Christmas Ecuador Project
Prayerfully consider contributing to this mission.
UBC Stained-Glass Christmas Ornaments
For informant how to purchase your ornament, click the image above.
Young Adults Night Out
For December, our Young Adults Night Out will be on the second Friday, 5:30-8:00 pm. This month, we will meet on December 17th.
For more information, click on the image above.
UBC will host its annual Christmas Brunch on Sunday, December 19 at 9:30 am. This event will take place outside in the courtyard, inviting participants to enjoy a time of community, celebration, and a good meal. The brunch will lead us into a music-centric worship service, with special guests from the Mother’s Day Out program.
Early Registration for Soccer Academy Now Open
The UBC Soccer Academy is back for another set of 6-sessions, February 26 - April 2. Early registration opens December 6 and closes January 6 for $10 off.
Instead of trying to schedule your entire week around scattered soccer practices and games, especially if you have more than one kid playing, register your kid(s) for a series of 1-hour sessions on Saturdays for six weeks. Your child will learn the fundamentals of soccer through fun activities and a scrimmage at the end of each session, all in the comfort of one hour per Saturday for six weeks.
For more information about the Soccer Academy and to register, visit www.ubc-br.org/academy.
Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
Center your hearts on the celebration of Christmas by joining UBC’s Candlelight Christmas Eve Service.
Click on the image above for more information.
New Advent Prayer Group
Each Thursday during Advent at 12:30pm, we will take time to reflect on the Advent Scripture from the previous Sunday in worship. Join us on Zoom.
Zoom ID: 570-645-5793
We Need Your Help as Our Church Grows
As out church continues to grow, we need your help. Consider volunteering for one of the above.
Choir is Back
The choir is back! We are currently rehearsing Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Music Suite. All are welcome. Previous experience not required. Safety precautions include masks and distancing. Join us! Contact email@example.com for more information.
CHURCH OF THE NATIONS
Worship in the Chapel this Sunday, December 12th
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Spiritual Formation Series
Please bring your children to join us for our current Spiritual Formation Series, “God’s Story for You and Me.” The series is led by Rev. Tanya Parks and takes place in the Children’s Branch during Sunday school.
Free Outing to ZooLights
Children and families, join us for an outing to ZooLights!
Click on the image above to let us know you're coming!
Youth Christmas Party
This Sunday is our youth Christmas party from 4pm-7pm at UBC! We will have food, Christmas movies and games, and a white elephant gift exchange.
If your youth wants to participate in the gift exchange, please have them bring a wrapped gift costing NO MORE than $10.
Staff Christmas Bonuses
Save The Dates
How To Give
Mask Policy Update
Click on the image above to review our updated mask policy.