Snow fence is going up on many of the roads around the church. The final clearing of fields is taking place, and the landscape looks more and more like late fall moving rapidly toward winter.

For St Thomas Church, it is a very busy time. Final preparations are underway for the 8th annual Tricky Tray to be held this Saturday at North Hunterdon High School. The 150 baskets will be loaded from the parish hall basement into waiting vans and cars on Saturday morning via a “basket brigade” of adults and youth at 10:30 at the church. Come see, come help. Others will be setting up the cafeteria at the high school, and all will be in place well before the doors are opened at 1:00 for guests. See elsewhere in this eblast for more information.

Throughout November we have been “filling the Sills” of the church with supplies for our local food pantries. Many thanks to all who donated, and to those who will transport the items to the food pantry at the end of this week.

In the parish hall there is a large box to receive the coats, hats, gloves and scarves for distribution through “One World, One Love” (also the beneficiary of the outreach portion of our Tricky Tray proceeds this year). This organization helps with the resettlement of refugees coming into New Jersey. Apartments, job help, clothing, basic skills like shopping, and, in this drive, winter clothing. New or gently used, clean coats, hats, gloves and scarves need to in by this coming Sunday, December 3 for the distribution on December 6. Questions? See the info elsewhere in this eblast – and if you missed seeing the video, spark with Elisabeth Chiminec. It’s a wonderful video!

A busy time at St Thomas Church – and then a time of preparation and quiet.

This coming Sunday, December 3, is the first Sunday of Advent. The church will be decorated simply, no flowers on the altar. There will be a pewter vase with one sprig of evergreen next to the candles behind the altar. Each week another branch will be added (volunteers gladly welcomed). The Gloria and the Alleluias will be absent from our liturgy during Advent, and we are called to a time of quiet preparation in anticipation of the birth of the baby in the manger, and the second coming of The Christ. In the midst of all the activity and hoopla of the rest of the world, we are challenged and invited to breathe deeply, find some quiet, and prepare our hearts for the coming of this guest into our hearts, our homes, and our lives. There are some Advent calendars in the parish hall, along with some devotional, inspirational materials to help us find our way. Help yourself. Feel free to share.

Let us pray:
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Many thanks to all for prayers and good wishes as I underwent gallbladder surgery early this past week. All went well, and I am on the mend, though moving a bit slower these days. I am grateful for the skill, generosity and kindness of so many in this process, and totally in awe of the technology available to us in these times. Gratitude beyond measure. Thank you, one and all.

Peace and blessing,
Carol+