Tea for Twenty

A friend loves at all times… Proverbs 17:17

Last night, our Bible Class came together for a wonderful evening of fellowship over cups of Christmas tea and goodies (of course!)

From my vantage point, I could see every friend’s face gathered around the table. Some of them I’ve known for years, others whom I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting since the class began. On the other end of the table was my best friend and master tea connoisseur, Teresa. 🙂

We were all challenged by an Advent reading concerning Elizabeth and Mary (Luke 1:41,42). It spoke of the commonalities the two women shared — both most likely having been misunderstood and the brunt of community gossip.

Calvin Miller, in “The Christ of Christmas, Readings for Advent” says this: Mary, no doubt, had been struggling with her heavy assignment. She must bear the Son of God. Yet she could not tell her story and receive any satisfaction. She had to face Isaiah’s words again and again: “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1) Then Elizabeth greeted her, “Blessed are you!” In the power of such a kind affirmation, Mary could live and thrive and serve God.”

I share that to say this. I was surrounded by Elizabeth’s last night — women who not only share in commonalities, but more importantly, share through it. Since this class began, I have seen these women love, encourage and support one another through a variety of circumstances in a variety of ways. They’ve not only spoken words of affirmation – they have acted on it. And when words of affirmation combine with action, it’s as if we are being given the privilege of helping breath life into another. A life that can thrive and serve God with a fresh sense of power.

Last night, I announced the new book we’ll be studying in January: Colossians! For the winter months, one of the ladies has graciously opened her home to us, which will allow us to serve hot drinks and feel the warmth of a fire as we study. The Library is a great place, but it’s a bit “sterile”, especially for the colder months. We’ll also be meeting on Tuesdays instead of Mondays for this next study. If you’re interested in joining us, just let me know! We have several new people coming on board — can’t wait!!!

In the meantime, here are a few pictures to enjoy.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, you were missed!!

We had the choice of regular of decaf Christmas Tea. We also made hot cocoa available for the non-tea drinkers. Does such a thing exist? Apparently so!

Check out my hubby’s talented work. Thank you, Brian, for using your calligraphy skills to write the ladies’ names on their place cards. It helped them to feel extra special!

Needless to say, it was a night to remember! What a blessing.

A Thanksgiving or Christmas Tea?

That is the question now posed to the Monday night study group. This morning, they were given three dates to choose from — one date in November, making it a Thanksgiving Tea, and two dates in December, making it a Christmas Tea. Either is fine with me, although I have to admit to my few readers that I’m secretly hoping for a Christmas Tea!

So, why a tea party? Any tea lover would quickly reply, “Why not a tea party?”, but it goes much deeper than that. Perhaps it’s because of our “church search” journey in recent months that has made connecting the body of Christ especially important to me. Being on the “visitor” side of the equation has reminded me of just how incredibly vital it is that people are welcoming to newcomers and caring to those around them. If we are to give God glory through our lives (which means giving a correct estimate of who He is to others) then we need to become very intentional as to who He has placed around us instead of focusing on ourselves. That is giving a correct estimate of our awesome Lord.

On the last week of our Summer study, I passed out feedback sheets in hopes of learning where I could improve as a teacher and how the class could improve in specific areas. One thing that was mentioned a few times was connecting more with the other class members, which is especially vital when the class members represent more than 5 churches. Is this easy to do in the amount of time we allot for class? No, but that’s no excuse. So, I’m praying for creative ways to “set the stage” for connecting opportunities, but the actual connecting will have to come from each person.

Last week, after talking on 2 Corinthians 1:1-11, we wrote down a specific area where we needed to experience God’s comfort this week and then put the request in a basket, along with our contact information. We passed the basket around with the requests and yummy Dove chocolate pieces (dark chocolate, of course!) The ladies were encouraged to pray for the person they drew, and to encourage/minister to them in some way. Once they had done so they were to enjoy their piece of chocolate. A little “comfort” food never hurt anyone, right?

So, I’m looking forward to receiving feedback from the ladies to see which holiday we will be celebrating as a group. I’ll keep you posted!

Tiny House on the Hill

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