What is Happening This Week 12/23-12/27/20

stripes-xmas-stockings.jpg fireplace_feet.jpg Advent Reflection
It seems that 2020 has passed very S-L-O-W-L-Y and, at the same time, has been a quick blur. We haven’t been engaging in activities that used to mark time for us. We also have fewer events to anticipate and look forward to. We are fatigued by the constant “bad news” and the necessity of continually re-adjusting our hopes and expectations. Humans typically develop routines that help us feel like things are “normal” and safe. COVID has made these former habits irrelevant: we can’t go to some places at all, we have to evaluate the risk/benefit of going to most other places, and we are forced to consider who we can be with/where we can be with them/for how long. All this evaluation takes extra energy and can make us vulnerable to increased fear, anxiety, frustration, loss, and depression.  

The following are some ideas for dealing with the Pandemic: Focus as much as possible on the “here and now,” rather than on future “what ifs.” Make an effort to be present for moments each day by concentrating deeply on something. Some examples: make and enjoy a cup of hot tea or cocoa, meditate, breathe deeply for 10 minutes, water and care for plants, or listen to relaxing music. Pray for yourself and pray for others. Find a bible passage that resonates for you and focus on it at points throughout your day. Decrease television and ration your news to 30 minutes a day.  

It is vital that we focus on what we can control, rather than on what we cannot. Maintain a relatively consistent schedule of waking, eating, exercise, and bedtimes. Set some goals every day, then celebrate their achievement and give yourself grace for things you don’t get done. Practice gratitude for what you have, for the people in your life, and even for getting out of bed today. Write down three things you’re grateful for each night, then read them again upon awakening. This sets the stage for you to notice things to be grateful for throughout the day.

Most of all, honor your feelings and experiences! It’s okay to be fatigued and frustrated. If you’re struggling, please call your insurance company for referrals for counseling. Many plans are offering telehealth with no copay or deductible right now! You may find low-cost counseling at OpenPathCollective.Org if you don’t have insurance.   
-Jeanne Selby  

  We hope you are joining us for online worship on Facebook Live. We will be on Facebook again this Sunday at 10:30 am. If you have missed any of the services, or do not use Facebook, you may also find them on our website hcumc.org.    
Christmas Eve Worship
Christmas Eve In-Person Worship
in the Holy Covenant Soccer Field at 3:00 pm  
We will be telling the Christmas story. We invite the children to help in the retelling if they would like to join in. We will be singing the first verses of familiar hymns.   Come dressed for the cool weather, wear a mask and bring a lawn chair to sit in.        
Live Streaming Candlelight Worship at 5:00 pm  
At 5:00 pm, the HC Praise Team and Pastor Cheryl will be posting our Christmas Eve service. You are welcome to watch it live or anytime during the evening. It will be on Facebook and on our website.    May our Christmas Eve service be a blessing to you and your family! Bring your candle, the worship bulletin, and a candy cane! See you then! 

Outside Sunday Worship – Suspended     OUTSIDE WORSHIP – Will be suspended until weather warms up.      

December 27, First Sunday After Christmas
With a special message from Bishop McKee!  

Prayers of the People   Prayer 2
Please keep the following people in your prayers this week:
The Wright family; the Yull family; the family of Thomas Elms; Rex McAnally; Carlos Ponce; Ginny Long; Andy Edwards; Max and Nicole Thomas; Paul Fincke; Charles Hinton; Janet Trumble; Barbara Wright; Aletha Craven; Mary Harrison; Florence Richter; Tyler Ackerman; Jojo Sain; Mike Gilbert; our friends at Atria Carrollton; and those who have lost employment.  

Food Pantry
Our last Distribution for 2020 was last Sunday. We served 154 families. January 10th and 24th will be next month’s Distributions. You may sign up to pack food, or to work at the Distribution on signupgenius.com or contact Lois Eaton at 214-862-8683 or [email protected].  

We need:
Pasta Sauce
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Green beans  

Thank you for your continued support of the Food Pantry.      

Advent Study
Mondays at 6:30 pm via Zoom
The final evening for the Advent Study will be Monday, January 4th when we will discuss Epiphany.  
Pastor Cheryl is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: HCUMC Advent Study
Time: 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)        
Jan 4, 2021 06:30 PM  
Join Zoom Meeting
Dial by your location        
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)        
+1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)        
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)        
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)        
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        
+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)        
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)

Meeting ID: 898 7423 5442
Passcode: 941506
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kjx0xulY2    

Walk to the Manger
Remember you can submit your special Christmas offering online by selecting Walk to the Manger on our website giving page or by mailing it to Holy Covenant.   Thank you!          

Finances checkbook-pen.jpg
Thank you for your generosity this year! If you typically write a check, please consider online giving.  
December Regular Donations/Pledge Payments:
Projected $46,365
Received $37,193 ($26,268 Regular; $10,925 Walk to the Manger)  

As of today, we are at 80% of our pre-pandemic projection for December giving!  This is amazing, and further proves the faithfulness and resolve of this congregation, even when circumstances aren’t ideal.  If you haven’t yet sent in your Christmas offering or caught up your 2020 pledge, there is still time!   

texting-girl-sm.jpg Online Giving
Donate Here. You may even set up regular giving by choosing the Donation Frequency.      

Volunteers Needed!
Would you like to help with our online worship? We need volunteers for our worship streaming ministry. You will be asked to commit to 2 worship services per month to operate either a video switcher or a camera.    Experience welcome–but not required! There will be training. If interested, please contact Tim Shepardson at [email protected].