December 16, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri

December 16, 2020 Message from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

Deck the Halls for the Coming of Christ
Haven Lutheran Church
December 16, 2020

A Pause in God’s Word in Our Hope and Expectation

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit….May the God peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. “
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19, 23

Prayer: (p.41) God of all gifts, make us grateful in all circumstances that we are eternally loved.  Amen.

Wednesday and Thursday ADVENT-URE WORDS: PEACE & FREED

I was rushing to my office from the parsonage for what seemed like the umpteenth time that day. (I’m blaming COVID memory J) When I stepped out of the church I looked up from the papers in my hand. There in Rest Haven were hundreds of luminary candles. It took my breath away it was so lovely. The luminaries had been rained out at Rest Haven the last two years. I had forgotten how beautiful it was. My agitation and rush seemed to melt away and I just stood there in the wonder of it all.
If I could have speed dialed the members of Haven, I would have — “Come. Come. You’ve got to see this. You’ve got to feel this calm.” I was so tempted to forget what I was working on and just pull out the fire pit and a chair to sit there in that moment of lights and peace, freed of worry to just marvel and savor the “now” as a soothing gift.
I hope you have such moments in this Advent and Christmas season. Maybe it will be when the lights on your Christmas tree dispel the long winter darkness. Maybe it will be when you watch a favorite Christmas movie or smell cookies baking. I hope you will find it when we sing Silent Night together on Haven’s parking lot this Sunday (4:30 pm) during our CAR-oling Christmas gathering or as we conclude Christmas Eve Worship. During this season and during these times, moments of peace, when you seem to forget to be anxious or hurried, are truly gifts of God, like visits from angels who say, “Do not be afraid.” I pray you notice and relish such moments of God’s peace that truly passes all understanding.

SNOW IS COMING!!  Here’s what I’m thinking. Today, instead of feeling confined in our homes because of COVID, we can declare a SNOW DAY. Do you remember that great feeling when you woke up and your parents told you there was no school! (It was equally as wonderful when I was a teacher, too.) Enjoy the beauty of the snow and the quiet when there is less traffic. Make hot chocolate, cookies or your go-to comfort or cold weather food.  A bit of peace and a piece of freedom courtesy of the snow. And since everyone is well stocked with toilet tissue :), just relax into the gift of the day. Happy Snow Day!

Thursday & Friday ADVENT-ure Words – FREED & EXALT

“Come Now, O Prince of Peace” ELW #247

“All Is Well”
(Original version – Young boy’s voice, youth & adult choirs and orchestra)
(Michael W. Smith & Carrie Underwood)

“Son of God” (Michael W. Smith) gives me chills

“There’s Hope for Everyone” (Just discovered this one)  (Matt Maher)

Washington County Interfaith Coalition
Interfaith Prayers for Today’s Times
December 15, 2020

African American Spiritual

Precious Lord, take my hand

Lead me on. Let me stand.

I am tired.  I am weak.  I am worn.

Through the storm,

Through the night,

Lead me on to the light.

Take my hand, precious Lord

And lead me home.

Hindu (Yayurveda)

O Lord give me strength

that the whole world

look to me with the eyes of a friend.

Let us ever examine each other

with the eyes of a friend.

Precious Source of holiness, in this moment of our disrupted living, give us the strength to curb any actions which might be harmful to another.

Open before us new ways to offer Love.

Give us the strength to offer the gift of safety across distance In whatever way we choose religious closeness.

Bring to our hearts the greater Love that embraces deep feeling without the vehicle of touch.

May we reflect Your presence: in our words, in our tears, and in the squeezed-tight hugs we throw with enthusiasm from across the room.

It is a heavy task we bear

Let Your Holy Hand sustain us and give us strength —and grant that we may offer the spirit of holy, loving-connection safely to those dear to us. Amen

Reverend Valerie Wills, Coordinator
Washington County Interfaith Coalition

ADDRESS  CORRTECTON It must have been wishing I could visit Sari Kilheffer this December since I put her and Chanhassen in MD (Maryland) rather than MN (Minnesota). Please NOTE the Sari’s correct address is  620 Aldrich Drive, Apt. #142, Chanhassen, MN  55317 (Thanks, Holly [Sari’s daughter] for catching the error.)









Haven’s gardeners and bakers raised $354 this summer!
It will be equally distributed between Haven’s Micah Backpack program, St. Mark’s Food Bank and the ELCA World Hunger Fun. ($118 each.) Three different efforts to battle hunger — here through Haven, in Hagerstown and in the world. Feels so good to be able to be generous, doesn’t it?

Many thanks to our gardeners, bakers and those who gave generously for the vegetables and other goodies.

Pastor Linda Alessandri

















From Charlotte Loveless

As we close 2020, something to think about:

  1. The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.
  2. I was so bored I called Jake from State Farm just to talk to someone. He asked me what I was wearing.
  3. 2019: Stay away from negative people. 2020: Stay away from positive people.
  4. The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house & their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!
  5. This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her dog. It was obvious she thought her dog understood her. I came into my house & told my cat. We laughed a lot.
  6. Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.
  7. Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?
  8. This virus has done what no woman has been able to do. Cancel sports, shut down all bars & keep men at home!
  9. I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are!
  10. I need to practice social-distancing . . . from the refrigerator.
  11. I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the Backyard. I’m getting tired of the Living Room.
  12. Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go up to a bank teller wearing a mask & ask for money.