Knox Preston Christmas Chimes December, 2020
The city came to pick up our leaves the other day. We have put our gardens to bed for the Winter, and our neighbours have been decorating the front of their house. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas is coming.
A part of me is not sure what to think about Christmas this year. Going to look for Christmas gifts is no fun. You have to wear a mask, keep putting disinfectant on your hands until they are sticky, line up to get into stores, and then struggle to find someone to help you. On the other hand, shopping online is boring has heck and totally impersonal. On top of that I’m just waiting for the government to start telling us to not see family at Christmas, to stay alone in our homes and hope we can celebrate Christmas next year.
I don’t know about you but these stay-at-home requests, and fear that everyone you meet is a COVID-19 spreader, and every surface you touch could be infected, are just not healthy for me. I don’t mind being at home at the end of the day, but having to live on Zoom and be a hermit is really getting to me. The coming dark and cold days are not going to help my mood any either.
So, a part of me is not looking forward to the Christmas COVID-19 hassle, and another part of me really wants to deck the halls and enjoy the season. I realize that I am going to have to exercise that great Presbyterian virtue, compromise! I have to recognize that I cannot control COVID-19 but only my reactions to it. However, I can control how I celebrate Christmas in my heart and life. This year I’ll put up a few more lights to brighten things up. I’ll be able to be at church on Sundays with others to hear the Advent and Christmas stories again. I’ll be able to sing my little lungs out to Christmas carols, and without the secular pressures of Christmas, be able to focus on the good news of the birth of Jesus.
This is my hope for you as well. I hope that you can join us Sunday mornings in-person at church or join us on Facebook for our recorded services. I hope that you’ll have time to reflect on the Christmas story and how it shapes your life. How might you celebrate Christmas in new and different ways by yourself, or with your close family? How might you be able to share you Christmas with others in new ways?
If you come up with new ways to celebrate Christmas this year let me know! We can share them with each other and perhaps help others find ways to make this a wonderful Christmas to remember!
Christmas Worship Opportunities
We have room for 50 worshippers in socially distanced seating arrangements from 1 to 5. Masks are mandatory and hand sanitizing is available!
Advent 1 – Nov. 29’20 – Communion Sunday – in-person at church at 10:30 AM or on Facebook at KnoxPrestonPC at 10:30 AM.
Prepare you own Communion at home or receive a Covid safe Communion at church.
Advent 2 – Dec. 6’20 – in-person at church or on Facebook.
Advent 3 – Dec. 13’20 – in-person at church or on Facebook
Advent 4 – Dec. 20’20 – in-person at church or on Facebook
Christmas Eve – Dec. 24’20 – in-person at church at 7:00 PM or on Facebook at 7:00 PM.
Sunday After Christmas – Dec. 27’20 – in-person service is cancelled. Please view on Facebook.
Jan. 3’21 – in-person service cancelled. Please view on Facebook.
2021 at Knox Preston
A variety of factors have brought our congregation to a very exciting point in it’s life and ministry. In the new year our congregation will have the chance to take stock of our gifts and resources, and to seek God’s guidance as we seek a new vision and mission. The Presbytery has given us a three thousand-dollar ($3,000.00) grant to help us collect information, analyze it, report it to the congregation, and help the congregation make decisions about our future. The Session has engaged Church Helper to help us in this process. Mike Wasyluk, of Church Helper, will help us survey our congregation; hold interviews with members; analyze our building, our spiritual commitment, future city plans, the local community, our finances; analyze the information and report it to us; lead us in a time of reflection; meet with the Guiding Team during a retreat; help us make a decision on what our future will be. We expect this to take three to four months. We cannot control the weather, COVID-19, member response time, etc. We will provide a report to the Annual Planning Meeting on February 28’21. Each one of you will be asked to participate in the process to various degrees. This is a very special opportunity to discover where God is leading us and we look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Please mark your calendars, on Sunday, February 28’21, for the Annual Planning Meeting.
We should be receiving a progress report from Church Helper on our progress with a Mission Assessment.
We will give you details about how we will hold the meeting in the new year.
The Legend of The Christmas Tree
Two little children were sitting by the fire one cold winter's night. All at once they heard a timid knock at the door, and one ran to open it.
There, outside in the cold and the darkness, stood a child with no shoes upon his feet and clad in thin, ragged garments. He was shivering with cold, and he asked to come in and warm himself.
"Yes, come," cried both the children; "you shall have our place by the fire. Come in!"
They drew the little stranger to their warm seat and shared their supper with him, and gave him their bed, while they slept on a hard bench.
In the night they were awakened by strains of sweet music and, looking out, they saw a band of children in shining garments approaching the house. They were playing on golden harps, and the air was full of melody.
Suddenly the Stranger Child stood before them; no longer cold and ragged, but clad in silvery light.
His soft voice said: "I was cold and you took Me in. I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was tired, and you gave Me your bed. I am the Christ Child, wandering through the world to bring peace and happiness to all good children. As you have given to Me, so may this tree every year give rich fruit to you."
So saying, He broke a branch from the fir tree that grew near the door, and He planted it in the ground and disappeared. But the branch grew into a great tree, and every year it bore wonderful golden fruit for the kind children.
SEWING MY PROJECTS IS HELPING ME THRU THIS COVID!!!
You know, folks, it really works! Let me describe what I mean. I am sending pictures of three of my projects, so you can see how the time might be spent.
The pictures included are of embroidered pillows. One is for Hazel, who is my senior friend from the Cambridge Friendly Visiting Program.
Before Covid, I would visit with her from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon
every Friday morning. Now she puts the pillow on her sofa and pretends I still come – but now it’s a phone call! We have a lot in common and I really enjoy my times with her.
Another pillow is for my sister, Deb, who once told me she would like something quilted from me, so I made this embroidered initial pillow for her.
A third pillow is for a man named Art, as a thank you for cooking treats and bringing them in for everyone at our table in the mall – a mall walker. He even brought some here to our house during Covid. The blue strips are from some jeans I cut up into strips, and did I mention that he makes the best butter tarts?
I am currently making embroidered letter pillows for my grandchildren,
Noah, Morgan and Jaelyn, as Christmas gifts. They sure take a long time to make! I will let you see pictures when I finish them.
“Sew” much for Donna Mae’s solution to the Covid-19 pandemic, what are you going to do???
Donna Mae Fleet.
CONGRATULATIONS TO DONNA MAY FLEET FOR BEING AWARDED THE KATHLEEN BROUGH AWARD FOR “OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER SERVICE TO THE ORGANIZATION AND THE COMMUNITY”
In spite of the COVID epidemic we continue to partner with the Cambridge Bingo Centre. Funds earned in 2020 as of the end of October total $12,058. With these funds we continue to support Lisaard House, The Cambridge Shelter, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, and Haven House.
Thank you to Donna and Brian MacKay for your dedication and hard work on this very important project.
Cambridge Sparks has grown to 9th Cambridge Sparks, Brownies and Guides to work on keeping as many youth as possible involved this fall. We have been meeting outdoors only and keeping the girls active, learning about Nature Discoveries, hiking and playing outside through September and October. We focused on learning about our Canadian History, as well as the local Preston history, in reference to our veterans through November. With our recent move to the red level we will be doing work online until it's safe enough to be back in person. We appreciate all the support the church congregation has given us this fall.
Waddup Dog Community Christmas Supper
Waddup Dog is waiting for Covid Guidelines before they announce if they are holding the annual community Christmas Supper. There may be a need for drivers on Christmas Day to deliver food to those in need. Please stay tuned and consider helping out this year.
Downtown Preston Christmas
Downtown Preston is open for business! Please consider shopping locally this Christmas season! Our local business family continues to deal with Covid and street reconstruction. Your patronage during the Summer months was greatly appreciated. Help keep our local businesses open this Winter by shopping locally!
Candyland 2020 in Preston
This year Central Park in downtown Preston is ready for you and your family. The Candyland park will be open for the month of December for you and your family to enjoy. Let’s pray for some snow to make it super magical!
LOCKING DOWN WITH FROGS
By Romeo Bynum
Ah me! My mum and I have been sitting together looking at a blank computer screen all day and still don’t know where to start! It has been almost a year since my last journal entry and there is so much to say, it is a big jumble in my handsome head full of brains. We would rather snuggle together and gaze out at the falling snow that is blanketing the chilly earth, mum with her creamy espresso and I with my dreams of puppy walks and beefy treats.
When I last wrote, that was many days before the big day when the whole world closed down! My cousin Ella Bella and I knew something was up because all of a sudden Ella didn’t have to come over to my house for our puppy day camp any more and my humans stopped leaving the house at all. When they got hungry, it was my dad who bravely ventured out, coming back with bags and bags to stock the fridge with enough food to feed an army - or my parents for two weeks. Then, all of a sudden, Dad set up his work equipment, books and papers on my dining room table and sat there for hours every day ferociously typing away, making phone calls, doing Zoomy meetings and researching. Next thing I knew, he dressed his upper half all fancy and started sitting in our big pink chair to talk to his laptop screen like it was a human. Scariest of all was when he started standing in my dining room on Sundays with cue words and thought bubbles stuck to boxes stretched across the table, to say his Sunday services as if he forgot where he was or he couldn’t find the church! I was scared that it was the zombie apocalypse like in the TV shows Dad and I love to watch on our boys’ nights in. The days turned into weeks and then into months. Dad’s hair grew longer and curlier by the minute until one happy June day my mum gave her own hair appointment to him so he could get his curly locks chopped off and he wouldn’t look like Einstein any more. I don’t know who that is, it’s my mum’s word, but looking at my dad I can only think he must have been some pretty scary guy!
So that’s what happened to my dad but let me tell you about my mum because she was just as strange! She never left the house at all except to take me into my backyard and for my happy potty walks. Her nerves became so frazzled that at least once every day she disappeared into her yoga room to do her calming stuff. She calls them practices. Usually she emerged looking more relaxed and normal but some days she had to go right back in there for another round. Maybe she was stressed from all the sanitizing she was doing. Every door knob, every cupboard handle, every water tap and hand railing was cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. Even the groceries that my dad finally bought every few weeks got washed with soap and hot water! Who even does that??? Worse yet, mum became a hand washing guru and washed her hands a gazillion times a day until I could even feel how dry and scaly they were through the softness of my thick winter coat when we snuggled for our cuddle time. Poor Dad was beside himself because every time he went anywhere and came back, my mum would be right there asking him if he washed his hands yet when he hadn’t even closed the front door! Between you and me he took it pretty good to her face but when she wasn’t looking, he would gaze at me with one of his “oh brother!” or “help me!” looks and rolled his hazel eyes in exasperation. Poor Dad!
But the very worst thing of all was that I never got to see my luvvy sister or cousin forever! Poor Jenn was isolating all alone with Ella Bella for fear of making our mum and dad sick with the big virus, which she didn’t even have, and everyone was so sad. All of my family’s special days came and went without celebration or steps into the outside world. In all, four birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and my humans’ anniversary came and went as if they almost didn’t even happen at all. They were brave though. So brave! They kept smiles on their faces and looked at the good side even though I know their hearts were weeping on the inside. I didn’t even get a birthday present, it was that bad!
Don’t think I didn’t like the new life, though. My days were filled with kisses and snuggles with my mum on the chesterfield while my dad worked in his new dining room office, and having my humans home with me every moment of every day was woofer bliss! And my walks! Let me tell you about my walks! The streets in my beloved neighbourhood were lined with cars, and houses were bursting with the families that live in each, but the world outside was sooooo quiet, I could enjoy the sound of the returning springtime birds and the soothing rustles of the breezes whispering through the trees. So peaceful and perfect! Yards along my favourite walk routes really started to spruce up, too. My humans said they’d never seen so much new mulch, fancy little fences, perfectly trimmed lawns and garden beds, many of them new, in their whole lives! People we passed from a distance were so friendly and smiling, so happy to see another living soul that they didn’t have to live with.
Eventually, things started to change again, and Dad began to drive to the Starbuck's drive-through for his favourite special coffee to start his day and I got to go with him for a puppy adventure in the car. Going through the drive-through was the best! The baristas are super nice and friendly. Hillary is my favourite! She really loves me and even now, when Dad and I go through the drive-through, Dad talks into the speaker where he places his order to ask if Hillary is working today. If she is, he asks, “Can you please tell her Romeo is coming to the window in a moment?” And sure enough, there’s Hillary with a big smile on her face to greet me when we get there! I wag my fan palm tail so hard that I do my happy dance so she can see how excited I am to see her. She and I definitely share a bond. Some days, when Dad needed a bit of quiet time to relax from his own stresses, we would pack my treats and water bottle to sit in the car under the shade of a tree, Dad reading the news on his phone while I napped and nibbled and sipped here and there on my beef lung and water. It was perfect!
A lot more happened during the big lockdown that I have to tell you about, too. First, just a few weeks after my sister’s almost whole company was laid off from their work, cousin Ella Bella had to get her teeth cleaned at the puppy helper. She was so scared! Then my sister’s drying machine in her basement died and her washing machine was almost dead, too, so she had to get new washing and drying machines. Then, at my house, almost right after my dad had to start doing everything for work on the Zoomy and Facebook with his computer, it died, too! He had to figure out the best new laptop to buy, because there are so many, and then he had to order it online because the stores were all closed and he couldn’t even talk to anyone to help him. It was a very tense time in my household, for sure! Dad had to learn how to do so many new things really fast. Just like me though, because I graduated from Grade 4 smart school, my dad is a really smart guy and after a few brow-sweating days, he finally got all systems up and running and now he is as good as a pro! He even had to download all of his programs and files himself. He’s amazing like that!
My mum also had to start using the Zoomy because she couldn’t bear the sadness of not teaching her beloved yoga. Now every Wednesday night she closes herself back in her little yoga room to teach her classes live. Dad and I, and often Ella Bella too, can hear her from our cozy TV room while we watch the news of the world on CNN. Next, my mum started doing her Thai foot massages again which made her extra happy. She is so covered in her head gear to keep herself and everyone else safe that she looks like Darth Vader. I didn’t know who that was, either, until Mum showed me a picture and yup, she totally looks like Darth Vader!
Things started to get back to normal in my house at the end of July when my sister decided she needed to get a new job since her company was still almost closed. Then poof! She got one right away, and that’s when cousin Ella Bella came back to my house for puppy day camp. It was a very hard time for her at first because she had been so happy having her mum all to herself for four months. She also wasn’t happy having to stay on her puppy leash whenever she went into my backyard for potties at first because the choke cherry tree was dropping all of its fruits on the ground. She is a born hunter and racing around my backyard to hone her skills is her very favourite thing, but she just loves juicy fruits and one time three years ago she got into those fallen choke cherry fruits and had to go to the puppy helper who made her throw up all the stuff in her little Yorkie belly. You should have seen all of the cherries she ate! It looked like only a few when she did it but she was full of them! The pits of those little juicy fruits are poison to we curious canines so it was really good the puppy helper got those nasty things out! Now she always has to stay on her leash during choke cherry season.
To be honest, Ella and I didn’t spend very much time outside this summer at all though because it was just sooooo hot! The grasses in my backyard were dry and prickly on our delicate toes and even the jungle of plants in my gardens were small and unsatisfying. But and wait until you hear this, a froggy came back to live in my pond again and not just one but two! Maybe you remember our froggy friend from long days ago, even before I was born. My kitty sister named Chloe had fallen madly in love with him at first sight, even though she only got to adore him from afar. She named him Mr. Delicious and he was her very best outside friend whom she communed with from the comfort of her favourite dining room window. That fall my humans had to take Mr. Delicious to the river by the trail to let him go so he would be free to hibernate in safety for the cold winter ahead. I only knew him through my humans’ tales of his days with them that summer, so just think how excited we all were to see his triumphant return! Now we have Mssrs. Delicious since there are two and we hope they will be back to live with us next year. They’re really friendly!
Because it was such a boring and stressful spring and summer at home, our humans and Ella Bella and I were so happy to get to go to our friend’s cottage again in the great Canadian wilderness for a couple of days. We hadn’t been there for years so just imagine how happy we all were to be back on that roly-poly dock gazing across the beautiful lake and breathing in the delicious wilderness air. Ella and I got to go for walks along the roads through the forest to sniff tantalizing smells of ferns and mosses and pines and all the potties of the wilderness creatures. We even went for a swim in the lake to keep ourselves cool, but when I say that we went for a swim in the lake to keep ourselves cool I really mean that our humans carried us into watery depths over our heads, which is like over eight inches, to dunk us into the freezing cold water and we had to swim for our lives to the shore. And did they think to bring my puppy cabana from home for our lounging comfort? No. No they did not. They did at lease give us after “swim” treats and we got to sunbathe on the floating dock to dry off. And that’s when Ella Bella got a horrible snooter in her snout! We didn’t know it until days after we came home but one day, Ella Bella started sneezing and she sneezed and sneezed and sneezed until she almost sneezed her fluffy head right off! This went on for two days, day and night, and her poor mum, my sister, didn’t even get a single wink of sleep. And then, right in the middle of the second sleepless night, Ella Bella threw her head back, sneezed out the biggest sneeze of her whole life and out flew a itsy bitsy larva that wiggled on my sister’s finger when she picked it up. EEEWWW, ELLA BELLA!!! Then Ella went back to the puppy helper again, and they gave her something to kill any more of those icky yucky things she might have snorted up her teeny, tiny nose. I always told her that one day that sniffer of hers was going to get her into trouble, and see? I tell you, she’s just a disaster!
And now, after all that excitement, it is almost Christmas and things are starting to look very sparkly in my world. After my humans raked up the humungous pile of leaves and put our beautiful gardens to bed for their wintery sleep, my dad put up my Christmas decorations on the big front porch and balcony to shine their twinkles and warmth into the cold festive nights. He said it was the very first time he has ever put up Christmas lights wearing his shorts and t-shirt in November because usually it is the coldest time of the November days when he freezes himself to do the big job. It looks so pretty, I just love it! My humans said that they are going to get my Christmas tree this week, too, so my home will soon be full of Christmas beauty to help cheer us all up.
There is so much more that happened in my world this year but I have been dictating to my mum for hours and now it is time for my supper. Mum says I should always rest while I digest so this is all I am going to write for now. My humans, Mssrs. Delicious, Ella Bella and I wish we will all find our blessings in even the littlest of things. May you all find tasty smelt treats and new stuffies (I asked for one myself because I chewed the ears off of baby bear that I got last year) in your Christmas stockings, warmth in your hearts and happiness wherever it may be!
Submitted by Cindy Bynum
To everyone in the congregation who supported us by giving articles and ideas for the Christmas Chimes and the Chimes Digest this year, we thank you profusely and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy happy New Year. May the Christmas Lantern below light up your Christmas festivities and bring peace to your heart. God Bless!
Jackie Greenwood (email@example.com)