Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Hebron Crossroads 12-01
By Jeff Gill

This is the last weekend for helping David Scheidegger with his Eagle Scout project. You’ve probably seen the wrapping paper covered boxes in local Kroger’s and area churches. He’s collecting items for members of the armed services overseas, and with the guidance and assistance of the Red Cross, he will get these items collected and delivered to troops in places like Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.

Scout Troop 33, chartered through The Dawes Arboretum, is working under David’s leadership to get this project closed out this weekend so materials can get to the service personnel by Christmas.

Items on the list (posted in full with the boxes) include microwave popcorn, wet wipes (remember, they’re camping out in a desert!), sunscreen and lip balm, batteries, personal hygiene items, recent paperback books, and even folded gift wrap and ribbon. As David points out, "soldiers like to give gifts, too!"

Last Sunday night was a great evening of Thanksgiving at Lakewood High School as six area churches came together to share our thankfulness. . .and share a generous offering with LEADS at Buckeye Lake for holiday assistance.

The "Won In Him" drama and music group shared a powerful message (actually, three!) and many thanks to Martha Fickle for helping with arrangements while in the middle of the run for "The Christmas Carol" in the same auditorium. Many of the youth from the participating congregations and with "Won In Him" were also in that delightful production, which featured among many other things a cartwheeling Scrooge!

We had over 250 in attendance, and I think everyone left really ready to be thankful right into the Christmas season, which is now upon us. Could I remind everyone with Christmas activities that any Hebron area event is of interest to "Hebron Crossroads," but production requirements mean you’ve gotta get ‘em to me about two weeks before at minimum. That means if you have a Christmas week event at your church or with an organization, let me know right away! I hope to run all the Lakewood Area Christmas Eve and Day worship services here in the column.

Looking even further down the road, I’ve heard some very positive feedback on trying out a book group for a few months, at least, open to anyone in the Hebron community. The first two books proposed, "Johnny Tremain" (a short novel of the days leading to the American Revolution) and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (amazing non-fiction) are available in a display behind the counter at Waldenbooks’ shop at Indian Mound Mall, and some of us are thinking of a "books and coffee" kind of format on a Saturday morning once a month. Could we try that on fourth Saturdays at 10 am from January to May and see what happens? I’ll make the coffee, and the meeting room at 612 W. Main is available. More book ideas are welcome, and we’re still making this up as we go.

Speaking of books, one last observation about the now completed run of "The Christmas Carol": the script was interesting in that it followed the book rather closely, with often missing scenes from the well-known movie versions back in the story. The huddled figures of Ignorance and Want under the robe of Christmas Present (which I only recall from the George C. Scott TV version), and the global tour of Christmases from the helm of a ship at sea to a family in a coal mining village, all were included in the version Lakewood performed. If you haven’t looked at the actual "Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens in some time, this was a great reminder to go back and enjoy the original text in all its richness.

Having said that, what’s your favorite filmed version? I always hear about the Alastair Sim version of ’51, but my personal preference is Reginald Owen, ’39. And of course there’s Mr. Magoo and Mickey, not to mention . . . well, just send in your favorites and why, and I’ll share ‘em Christmas week.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church, and has his own "humbug" issues; if you’d like to share a Scroogian memory, call 928-4066 or e-mail disciple@voyager.net.
Notes From My Knapsack

Are you ready for Christmas? Hmmmm, "ready" for Christmas. What does that mean, anyhow. . . Not sure? Well, here's a test for you to check with:

Do you have an Advent wreath or Advent calendar at home, so you and yours can let the excitement build from Dec. 1 through Christmas Day? Sure, the chocolate calendars count! You can have fun with anticipation, can't you? Just don't let the sanctuary be the only place you see a wreath or other way of building to the 25th. The "how many shopping days" things in the paper definitely don't count!

Have you stopped and spent some time thinking about what those you love really want in their lives? See, it's not about being "anti-shopping" or anything like that, but what does gift giving mean if it gets run through the sausage grinder of sales imperatives. The commercial side of Christmas is at its worst when it makes people ask for stuff they don't even really "want", but think they have to have. Reflecting on what your loved ones really would appreciate in their lives can be an activity that's downright prayerful, even if you can't always get them those things.

And have you looked at the manger scene yet? Yeah, I know you set it up and all: everybody has one, and I don't have to tell anyone to set it up. But have you looked at it? Have you run the story it tells through your mind -- not only the story the figures tell, but the story I know so many of you have about the history of the set itself? A story which often has to do with the miracle that we, ourselves, are part of the story God is telling in Creation. But don't forget to look at your manger scene, and just let your gaze linger.

In Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jeff