Thank You and Upcoming Events!

Thank you for joining us this Advent Season on the Marble Women’s Ministry Advent Blog.  We were blessed this season to have so many contributors and participants.  As the holiday season winds down, we are actively preparing for several events in January and our annual Marble Women’s Ministry Retreat in March.

If you are local, please join us for an Open House on Sunday, January 13th directly following our 11:00 a.m. Sunday Worship.

And we are pleased to share our 2019 Spa Day for the Soul.  This year’s theme:  Grit, Grace and God:  Stepping out into Faith. Together.  Save the date:  Saturday, January 26th.

You must register by going to:  Marble Women’s Ministry Page

We have a playlist to share to get you started:
Grit, Grace and God Playlist on Spotify

Please join us!

Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

On this Christmas Eve, I wanted to share with you a favorite hymn of mine, an African American Spiritual called “Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow (the star of Bethlehem).”  Do you know it?

Like the more known, “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” the song was passed down orally by slaves and sung at services on a plantation before emancipation. It is a Christmas Hymn that focuses more on devotion and discipleship. Most Christmas Hymns are about awe and wonder.

In the typical African American Spiritual style, known as the call and response format in which the leader sings and the choir responds.   

What did it mean for the slaves who wrote this spiritual to follow the star in Bethlehem?

According to Luke 2:8-20, the Shepherds dropped everything and left their flocks at night to go to Bethlehem.

What does it mean for us today to rise up and follow the star? I do not have a flock to leave behind, but I oftentimes think about the work I do and how I can pass along this song of hope to others.  In a way, this blog is part of my commitment to help people focus on their faith journey and give hope during the busiest times of the year.

What does this song mean to you?

Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow

There’s a star in the East on Christmas morn,
Rise up, shepherd and follow!
It’ll take you to the place where the Savior’s born,
Rise up, shepherd and follow!
If you’ve taken good notice to the angels’ words,
You’ll leave your flocks and leave your herds,
And rise up, shepherd, and follow!
Leave your sheep,
And leave your lamb,
Leave your ewe,
And leave your ram,
And rise up, shepherd, and follow!

Refrain:

Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Rise, O sinner, rise and follow,
Follow the Savior of Bethlehem.

The King’s Singers version of “Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow”

“I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to give you this Christmas.  I’d really like to give you something that just fits your own wishes and needs the way these shoes just fit me.  I suppose the thing I’d like most to be able to give you is hope.  Hope that through your own doing and your own living with others, you’ll be able to find what fits for you in this life.”

Mr. Rogers, 1977

Shared by Marcie Doll

The Winter Solstice 2018

Good Evening Friends!

On this the shortest day of the year:

We all have winters in our lives;
Darkness fills our world,
Fear is present,
We have a longing for companionship,
Our struggles seem insurmountable,
We feel a sadness that abounds,
Some will forsake us,
Geography can make us feel isolated,
Apart from those we love,
And we will be separated on our journeys.

While you may not in the midst of winter value the “winter” moments, but they help us to look for something to endure and hope again. And appreciate the good times more. For me, I always turn to music with harmonies that defy.

Winter will end, hope will return and you will find a way…as Christ was born for us on a new day.

The King’s Singers version of “Born on a New Day”

Shared by Marcie Doll

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Winter Songs…

While I absolutely adore the traditional Christmas Music, I am always looking for a few more to add to the playlist and updated traditional carols with some new singers.

The Good Shepherd Band’s Gabriel’s Message

Winter Song from The Hound and the Fox

The Angel City Choir’s, Do You Hear What I Hear?

Someday at Christmas from Stevie Wonder and Andra Day

From the Motown Gospel Album, This Christmas

 

 

 

 

A Message….

CHRISTMAS is celebration; and celebration is instinct in the heart. With gift and feast, with scarlet ribbon and fresh green bough, with merriment and the sound of music, we commend the day—oasis in the long, long landscape of the commonplace. Through how many centuries, through how many threatening circumstances, has Christmas been celebrated, since that cry came ringing down the ages, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11 KJV)

Christmas is celebration, but the traditions that cluster sweetly around the day have significance only if they translate the heart’s intention—the yearning of the human spirit to compass and express faith and hope and love. Without this intention, the gift is bare, and the celebration a touch of tinsel, and the time without meaning. As these attributes, exemplifying the divine spark in mankind, informed the first Christmas and have survived the onslaughts of relentless time, so do they shine untarnished in this present year of our Lord.

Faith and hope and love, which cannot be bought or sold or bartered, but only given away are the wellsprings, firm and deep of Christmas celebration. These are the gifts without price, the ornaments incapable of imitation, discovered only within oneself and therefore unique. They are not always easy to come by, but they are in unlimited supply ever in the province of all.

THIS CHRISTMAS, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand. Flout envy. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate. Be kind; be gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express your gratitude. Go to church. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still once again.

These are but inklings of a vast category; a mere scratching of the surface. They are simple things; you have heard them all before; but their influence has never been measured.

Christmas is celebration, and there is no celebration that compares with the realization of its true meaning—with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself toward the core of life. Then, only then, is it possible to grasp the significance of the first Christmas—to savor in the inward ear the wild, sweet music of the angel choir; to envision the star-struck sky, and glimpse, behind the eyelids the ray of light that fell athwart a darkened path and changed the world.

McCall’s Magazine, 1959

I thought I should share this message, while written in 1959, seems to resonate to me today.  Christmas is not just a day, it should be a movement.  I used an excerpt of this in my Christmas card this year to friends and family and I also share this with you.

Marcie Doll

A Little Evening Advent Humor….

“Why are Dasher and Dancer always taking Coffee Breaks?  Because they are  Star Bucks.”

“Your work holiday party gives you the chance to meet all of the people you’ve been emailing from four feet away.”  from sweatlife_nyc

It’s December 18th, but I already ate all of the chocolate from my Advent Calendar.

I found a meme that had a child fist pumping:  “Day after Christmas and I still have chocolate left in the Advent Calendar, I must have lost weight this Advent.”

Advent Calendars:  A tradition bringing families together so kids have one more thing to fight over.

 

Please feel free to add any other Advent funnies into the comments, I know you have them….

 

In the Bleak Midwinter

For so many, the darkest days of the year that lead up to December 21st, the first day of winter are bleak.  Last night, I watched coverage about a massive snow storm in Romania and the rainy weekend the Northeast endured where many are wondering when the rain will end.

My Sunday was spent in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area shopping with a friend, laughing all the way and attending a wonderful children’s Christmas Concert at a local church.   The children sang their hearts out!  And then there were the angels.  Oh! How they lit up the stage in their wings and waved to the audience of family and friends.  Exactly what our angels are supposed to do in our lives, make us feel like we are valuable and protected.

On our drive back to my hotel, I kind of forgot the bleakness I oftentimes see this week of darkness.  It was strangely a spectacularly beautiful day here in the Twin Cities with a balmy temperature of 48 degrees.  And the sunset had some of the most fabulous colors I have seen in the week leading up to the shortest day of the year.  Hoping that you have one of those days soon!

So, if you have one of those bleak midwinter days, listen to this.  Susan Boyle’s voice somehow makes the day better.

Listen to Susan Boyle singing “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

1. In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

2. Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

3. Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

4. Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the Beloved
With a kiss.

5. What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

Shared by Marcie Doll

Tomorrow, Advent Begins

Tomorrow is the first day of Advent, marking the journey we will make together towards December 25th, 2018.  This Advent Blog, sponsored and written by Marble Collegiate Church’s Women’s Ministry and dear friends of our group will focus on the traditional themes of Advent: hope, joy, peace and love.

Our annual theme this year is “Faith:  Transformed by Grace.”

Please check out our menu right above the blog posts each day.  We have added some new features to help you find opportunities to volunteer, give meaningful gifts, and also be there for some that we know the holidays will be a difficult time.

How do I participate?

  1. While you are sleeping, a daily blog post will appear.   Read the post and share it with your friends.  At the bottom of the blog there are buttons to share the post via email, Print, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or even Like the post.
  2. There is a WordPress App that you can download from the iTunes, Android, Blackberry and Windows stores. Turn on notifications and you will receive a little buzz on your Smartphone or Tablet.
  3. We welcome you to actively participate! If you see something you like or a post that inspires you, click the heart and better yet, add a comment to make the blog more interactive.
  4. Send the link for your Friends and Family around the globe to join.  Here is the direct website:  https://marblewomen.com

We hope that our Advent Blog will help you to rediscover the sacred Advent season one day at a time.

Sending you blessings this Advent…

Marcie Doll

Curator of the Marble Advent Blog

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Psalm 100.  For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

And here are a few songs that will help you to celebrate:

Thankful by Josh Groban

We Gather Together (Ricky Lee James)
In this version, folk singer Ricky Lee James is seen on his guitar.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Sarah Noelle

While not a traditional Thanksgiving Hymn, I somehow feel this is a song that helps me to honor my family members who have moved on and no longer grace our Thanksgiving table.
Amazing Grace, sung by Camellia Johnson

We are thankful for your participation each year on our blog.  And look forward to the start of the Advent Season in a few days.

The Marble Women’s Ministry Team

A Back to School Message

Hi Everyone!

No, it is not Advent yet!  Advent is a mere 88 days away and I thought I should say hello. We added a few things to the podcast to help you have a spirit-filled fall.  Above this blog post, we have several tabs for you to click to find some places for inspiration, learning opportunities, volunteer events, and also ways to connect virtually with others.

Here are some things to look forward to with our blog:

Our theme this year will focus on Faith:  Transformed by Grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8

Are you looking for inspiration this fall?  Join us in person or virtually.

All are Welcome!

You can livestream our Sunday Morning Service at 11am ET and  our Wednesday Night Worship Services (WeWo) at 6:15pm ET.

Go to the link  Livestream Worship Services to join in.

For the next few weeks, our new Senior Minister, Dr. Michael Bos will be focusing his Sunday sermon series on “Life’s Greatest Challenges.”   How do we deal with those greatest challenges in our lives and grow in our faith?

If you are local to New York City, you can join us in person at Marble Collegiate Church, located at 5th Avenue and 29th Street.  Check out our schedule and events at Marble Collegiate Church.

Well, I am not ready to give up on summer yet, so I thought I should share some pictures of an evening on the water with my Mom.  What are your favorite moments of your summer?  Please feel free to reach out and comment on our blog and we are looking forward to spending time with you soon!

Marcie Doll

 

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