Songs and Gifts

This Sunday we have two services. One at 10 am which will focus on the Biblical songs of Christmas and 7 pm focus on the Gifts of Christmas. Both have communion. At 7 pm we light candles as we sing “Silent Night”.

We could have used the candles last Sunday morning.

SCE decided to work on a transformer during our 10 am worship. Happily, Irm and Pastor Shane Freiberg, who was our supply pastor, and all of you were able to celebrate the gift of Light in spite of the darkness.

Connie and I enjoy the music of Christmas. Lots of memories. It all started with the Gospel of Luke who shares one song after the other, beginning with Elizabeth.

A pregnant Mary goes to see her. As she enters the room, Elizabeth sings out. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Members familiar with the Catholic church might recognize this as part of their Hail Marys. Some members I know are all too familiar. Elizabeth cannot help but sing. Her husband, Zechariah, did not join in. He had not believed the Good News that his wife would be giving birth to John the Baptist so he was unable to speak for nine months.

Mary responds to Elizabeth with the Magnificat which we will read responsively Sunday morning. Unlike Zechariah who could not imagine that marvelous things took place, Mary sees change all around her. God had not looked to the high and mighty to change the world. They most of all want nothing to change, lest they lose their power. Herod would kill innocent boys in Bethlehem to keep in power. We still see the innocent fall in Syria, Iran, Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza. Mary sings of a new day which was evidenced in her life when all human life is reverenced. She is a humble servant but for generations, she would be called Blessed. She sings of the hungry being fed and the rich sent away empty.

When John the Baptist is born, Zechariah is finally about to speak. He as he does, he sings about  a horn of salvation being raised up. The Day of salvation, forgiveness and tender mercy is dawning. Light is coming to dark places and into the shadows of death, guiding people into pathways of peace. How we need that Light in our own time.

The next song is a chorus of the Angels singing to humble shepherds about Glory and Peace.

What songs are in your heart this season? What compels your voice to sing?

I hear the songs in the heart of our members as they tell me about the people we feed through our pantry. I hear songs from the hearts of our youth as they return from camp. I hear songs as sewing machines stitch together quilts for homeless men. There are songs in the hearts of members as they care for loved ones.

There were plenty of songs as part of Faith’s Preschool program, pictured below.

This Christmas you may know of neighbors or friends who, like Zechariah, who do not have a song in their hearts. They just do not see how marvelous things can happen. For them the world will not and cannot change for the better.

Unlike Zechariah, those voices are not silent but magnified.  We need your voices to sing out.

Thank you for helping Faith Sing in the Neighborhood – by taking the boxed cookies to neighbors or friends inviting them to our services on Christmas Eve. There were 58 boxes —  appx. 696!! Cookies — on Dec. 17 and all were taken by you and with 18 distributed through our preschool.   We are ready with musicians and our choir to sing out with Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah and the Angels.


Lord, help us this year to give voice to the Peace, Hope, Joy and Love you desire for our world. As we lift candles and sing out in the silent night may that Light shine in darkness, for the darkness cannot overcome it.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor John

Semi-Annual Meeting – Thanks for joining us on the 10th our new council was elected and the 2024 budget passed unanimously.

Over 15 Pledge/Commitment forms were returned by December 10th. Thanks. If you still want to make a commitment there are forms available in the narthex.

Add New Member –Chris Ladd to your directory. She lives in the Plantation complex at 10961 Desert Lawn Dr. #501 Calimesa, CA 92320 951-312-5423. New directories are available in the office.

 Poinsettias and Musicians – Thanks for purchasing Poinsettias for the Christmas season and dedicating funds for special Christmas Eve musicians.

 LAUREN SCHAFER our Office Assistant’s hours are: 12:30-3:00 M – Th.   (The office will be closed Christmas Day, December 28th, and New Year’s Day.)

Pastor will be in Wednesday and Thursday, December 20 and 21.

He and Connie will then be on vacation from Dec. 25 to Jan. 19

Confirmation Class we are taking a break until January 28, due to holidays and semi-annual meetings.

 Next Pantry – January 12 and 26. We are looking for grocery bags (Stater Bros. are best) and boxes of cereal, bags of rice, macaroni & cheese, and canned fruit.


Choir – We are singing on Christmas Eve. Join our special CHRISTMAS EVE CHOIR We’ll practice at 9:00 on the 24th and at 6 pm before the 7 pm service.

Adult Class – Nelson Hall will be leading a class on prayer after the first of the year beginning January 17 @ 1 pm.

WELCA – The Next Women’s Bible Study will be Saturday, January 6 at 9:30 a.m. in the Fireside Room.

QUILTING – Emily Smith’s Group (909.255.2452) has completed eight more quilts for Central City Lutheran Mission and 20 were donated to Lutheran World Relief. Thank you!

Cancer Free Good News

  • Cesar’s Sister Maria had a lump removed from her neck and after chemotherapy, she was pronounced cancer-free.
  • Joe after the removal of his cancerous kidney, which had stage 4 cancer the oncologist said no more cancer was detected in his body!                             


  • The Koenig Family – GOOD NEWS
  • Jeanne Koenig’s stint in her skull is draining the accumulating spinal fluid but this is not easy going. Her eyesight, speech, and motor skills are better but still a lot of pain.
  • Daughter, Jessica’s leukemia is being managed, but leaves her tired. Lucas and Joey lost a grandmother, Lael Shea – whom they called Mimi.
  • Erwin appreciates our continued prayer for Lynda.
  • Kyle and Dana would appreciate prayers for their son, Kevin’s, Mother-in-Law, Lisa, suffering from cancer.
  • Cesar and Kim would also appreciate prayers for their sons, Tim, and Kyle.
  • The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez in need of housing for themselves and the twins.
  • Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.


SUN Dec. 24 – Advent Four Service @ 10 am. Songs of Christmas

SUN Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve Service @ 7 pm. The Gift of Christmas

SUN Dec. 31 – Carols and Readings @ 10 am. With Shane Freiberg

SUN Jan. 7 and 14 – The Baptism of Jesus begins the season of Epiphany with Glenn Egertson, then George Crisp

SUN Jan. 21 – 10 am worship Pastor Bunge back. Our second Semi-annual Congregational Meeting follows.


We will be expanding the bulletin board in January in the Fireside Room so we can display lots of pictures of Faith in action. If you have any that you have taken, please forward via email to Debi Hitter, She will print them for the bulletin board and pass them on to Lauren for the website.  

WINTER with your Faith Family

Thank you for helping with our Cookie Exchange Outreach.  You helped distribute 58 boxes — about 696 cookies!!  to neighbors, friends, those who needed cheer.  Thanks to Sharon Cady for an Action Team, to Connie for organizing, to Karen for taking charge to finish the packing of cookies, along with Dona and Barbara.  Also, thanks to Bonnie M., Cadys, Robyn, Karen, Dona, Barbara, Pat T. for providing cookies and Jennifer and Charlotte for donating several Girl Scout boxes.  

 SUN DEC. 24 & SUN DEC. 31 – Please enjoy the holidays with family and friends.



SUN JAN 14 – Pat Motschall and Sharon Cady Host               

SUN JAN 21 – Semi-Annual Meeting.  Coffee, Hot Chocolate and treats in Narthex

SUN JAN 28 – ALL Congregation Potluck

We will be forming a new committee in the New Year to plan events for Spring through Summer. If you want to join the fun, please call or text Connie, 951.514.1214.

Or you can still provide treats via a sign-up sheet that will be always be in the narthex or In the Fireside Room during Sunday mornings.