A Blog by Robin Cannon, Social Media Consultant for Messy Church USA
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about gifts, but not in the usual way of making sure I have great Christmas gifts for everyone in the family. This Advent season is an anniversary for me. It was 10 years ago this Advent that I became so sick that I nearly died. I was busy doing all the things that Christian Education Directors do during Advent, when I developed a cough that I just couldn’t shake. The doctors said I had pneumonia and that I needed medicine and rest, however, I didn’t get any better. Weeks later, I was in the hospital, on a ventilator, close to death when one of the doctors on the medical team trying to keep me alive suggested I might have Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA). GPA is one of those of rare autoimmune diseases that is very hard to diagnose. They started treating me for GPA and I gradually improved.
Gift of family, get well cards and much more
All total I was in the hospital for 7 weeks, but I do not remember several weeks of that time. I do remember with awe and thanksgiving the many gifts I received during my slow recovery: the giant stack of get well cards, the wonderful milkshakes my Uncle Bob brought me when he came to visit, the messages from friends and strangers all around the world who were praying for me, the amazing Christmas dinner my mom brought me when I was well enough to enjoy food again, the night shift nurse who I bonded with and who came and just hung out with me when she wasn’t busy with other patients, the friends that made sure our two daughters were taken care of so that my husband, Mark, could be with me.
What gifts have you received that you need to pause and give thanks for during this busy season of Advent?
Gift of music
So many gifts, it is good to remember them and give thanks. I also remember hearing a favorite song, “Great are you, Lord” by All Sons & Daughters during this recovery time (See video below). The lyrics which I had always loved spoke to me in a completely new way. If you haven’t heard this song, this line hits me everytime now: “It’s Your breath in our lungs, So we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise.” I had never before been thankful for the gift of breath in my lungs, but now I have a new understanding of what a wonderful gift breathing is! Our God is such a generous God. “Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars.” (James 1:17 ICB) What gifts have you received that you need to pause and give thanks for during this busy season of Advent?
Gift of Messy Church
The ministry of Messy Church is another gift from God that I am so thankful for. If you are not familiar with Messy Church, picture a once a month event similar to vacation bible school, but for all ages. Messy Churches are Christ centered and based on the values of all-ages together, celebration, creativity, and hospitality. Seeing three generations of a family play or create together at Messy Church is a gift! Seeing middle school and high school students invite their friends and their friends’ family to Messy Church is a gift! Seeing a young, stressed out family relax over the free dinner at Messy Church is a gift! Seeing a child who strenuously dislikes the traditional church service ask to help lead music during the Celebration time at Messy Church is a gift! How has Messy Church been a gift to you? If Messy Church has made a difference in your life, please consider participating in our year end fundraiser which will enable Messy Church USA to do more to start and sustain Messy Churches across the USA. You can give through a gofundme page or through our website.
Send a Year-end Gift to Messy Church USA
Our goal with Messy Church USA (a part of All-Age Faith Formation) is to help Messy Churches start, sustain, and connect. We want to make our resources affordable because we know that budgets are increasingly tight. But we have so many more ideas, hopes, and dreams for ways we can equip Messy Churches to grow and reach their communities; it will take time and money to make these ideas take shape. We want to raise $3,000 before the end of the year. So far we have received $1,000 since Giving Tuesday.