My friend's mother passed away yesterday. As I saw she had sent me a message on Facebook, I knew before I even opened it what it probably said. Her beloved mother had one song request, and she was asking me if I knew it, could sing it, or knew of anyone that could for the funeral on Saturday. My mind went back to 13 years ago this December 10th when my own precious mama went to be with Jesus. Oh how the heartache welled up in my eyes, missing her so much it hurt. Gladly I will learn a song I have never heard before and be there for my Miss SC sister, my friend, my sister in Christ to honor the life of her mother. I know what it is like to be where she is, and each year at this time, I face a bittersweetness that has now become a part of my Christmas season.
As I pulled out the Christmas decorations this year, it was even more bittersweet, if I may be so transparent, more bitter and less sweet, and for a moment I wasn't sure I had the heart to go to all the trouble of decorating my house like I always have. There will be no children at home this year, no family coming at all for the first time, and it feels odd. Hard. Sad. And yet, I will choose to celebrate, rejoice, because Emmanuel will still permeate my home, and my heart, as He always has.
This morning I opened my Thomas Kinkaid devotional that my friend Sharon gave me years ago for a Christmas gift, and I read these words, "Each box, once opened, becomes a family treasure chest, a rediscovery of memories and moments. No matter how many years the same decorations are packed away, we somehow forget what the boxes hold; pulling it all out again awakens something deep within us. Christmas is a time when the past and present merge as they do at no other time of the year. To pull out dusty boxes of carefully packed decorations is an act of hope, a bold act of faith that says in the very doing that Christmas will come again, that in this home we will proclaim the coming of a Christ child, and that despite whatever limitations we may face in our circumstances, our finances, even our relationships, we again prepare to discover anew the presence of Christ in the world. To open boxes of decorations is to open our hearts."
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior...for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation."
So yes, I sit here in front of my beautifully decorated Christmas tree, with all of the heirlooms my mama passed on to me, and the homemade ornaments my children once made, I am so glad I did decorate. As one of my students walked into the living room for her voice lesson yesterday, her simple statement, "Ms. Dawn, I love all of your Christmas decorations," made it all worthwhile and warmed my heart. Yes, Emmanuel lives here, and I will celebrate and honor Him.
Precious friend, thank you for sharing this last year with me as we have met every month in these newsletters. May you and yours rejoice in the Lord over this blessed Christmas season. I will look forward to meeting you here again next month as we begin yet another year together.
Ministry at a Glance:
The month of November offered a rich variety of ministry opportunities and I was delighted to be at each one. Thursday, November 3rd was such a beautiful evening at the She Magazine Extraordinary Women Awards Event. Last month I was asked to write a feature article for this amazing and uplifting magazine, and thrilled to do so. Then, when She Magazine’s Owner/Editor/Publisher, Melia Flowers, asked me to be the keynote speaker at their annual event, I was honored. It was especially sweet to share the platform and evening with my dear friend Melodie Griffin, who is Managing Editor for the Midlands edition of She Magazine. I am delighted to be sharing another article in the December issue of She Magazine, this time about a certain little feline that so many have come to enjoy, especially during the holiday season. She has been affectionately named Zoey, the Christmas kitty. So please check out the magazine and my article, "Meowy Christmas" online at www.shemagazine.com.
On Saturday, November 5th I was so
blessed to minister at Trinity United Methodist Church in Conway, SC at their Women’s Ministry Holiday Event. This was my first event sharing some Christmas music for the year, and what a joy it was to begin celebrating my favorite time of the year. Rachel Carter and Brenda Macplaugher, Women’s Ministry Coordinators, treated me to a wonderful dinner at a local pizzeria the night before, and I so enjoyed getting to know them.
Sunday morning, November 6th I celebrated Homecoming with Zion Southern Methodist Church in Mullins, SC. Thank you, Pastor Marion and Cynthia Watkins for inviting me. There is nothing like a good “dinner on the grounds!” What a joy it was to minister to the people who had just been so affected by Hurricane Matthew. One of their members there that morning had lost everything in the storm, but was still there to worship God.
The evening of November 6th I presented a concert at Beulah FWB Church in Pamplico, SC. So grateful to Pastor Jerry Hall for welcoming me into his sweet congregation. It’s always fun to meet my Facebook friends on the road, and Shannon Bazen was certainly delightful to visit with.
On Thursday, November 10th I was excited to minister at Boiling Springs First Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, SC for their Ladies’ Night Out Holiday Event. What a precious women’s ministry team I got to visit with, and so appreciated Brandi Tanner for her invitation to me to serve as their speaker for this beautiful annual event.
I closed out the month’s ministry events on Sunday, November 13th at Broadacres Baptist Church in Cayce, SC for their Ladies Day. Thank you, Stacie Davenport for welcoming me so warmly.
Looking toward December, the month is full of Christmas concerts and celebrations. On Sunday December 4th I will be presenting a Christmas concert at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Florence, SC for their 9:15 a.m. service in their brand new worship center. I can hardly wait to celebrate with this church family that has welcomed me several times over the years. That evening, at 6:30 p.m. I will remain in Florence and present another Christmas concert at Mizpah Baptist Church. An extra special treat that night will be my Aunt Barbara Lawrimore joining me on a piano duet, as she is the church pianist there. We have never done this, and I can hardly wait! On Thursday, December 8th I will be at Carmel Baptist Church in Matthews, NC for their Senior Adult Christmas Luncheon again this year. Oh how I love these dear people. On Saturday, December 10th I am looking forward to being at New Heights in Columbia, SC at their women’s Christmas coffeehouse at 7:00 p.m. On Sunday, December 11th I will be at Eastlan Baptist Church in Greenville, SC for both their morning and evening services. The morning service will be at 10:30 a.m. and I will present special music. The evening service begins at 6:00 p.m. and I will be joining their choir for their Christmas Musical, “How Great Our Joy.”On Monday, December 12th I will be at St. Andrews Baptist in Columbia, SC for their Deacons’ Christmas Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Closing out the month on Sunday, December 18th I will be presenting a community wide Christmas concert at Cool Branch Baptist Church in Blair, SC, my last event of the year!
We have just received word that the first episode of "I, Witness" will air on January 4th. We are not sure of the episode order but we should have more information for the January edition of the newsletter.
*I do have one final Sunday opening for the month/year, the morning of December 18th. Christmas is my FAVORITE time of year to sing, and if your church could use some special music, a mini-concert, or a full concert, do let us know. I simply ask for a love offering.
On The Home Front:
Did you have as wonderful a Thanksgiving as I did? Oh, how I treasure time shared with family and friends.
Allison, her husband Randy, their 2 girls and I had such a fun time together over dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant.
I celebrated with dear friends at a surprise birthday party for their wife/mom Sharon. How grateful I am that the Lord brought Stephan Belec into my life years ago through his wonderful company Handyman Services, LLC, and I now teach their children piano/voice and call them friends.
What a treat it was when I was in Florence, SC to meet my Aunt Barbara Lawrimore for lunch. On the 4th of this month, she and I will be sharing a piano duet at her church as a part of my Christmas concert, and I am looking so forward to it.
When I was in Boiling Springs, SC, my brother Robert, wife Elizabeth and nephew James Michael surprised me by coming to the church that was hosting me just to share a hug and a hello, as this is about a half hour from their NC home. It was even more appreciated as I found myself stuck in stand-still traffic on I-26 for one solid hour, being over an hour late to my event, due to a fatal accident on the highway, and yet they waited on me. Meant more to this big sister than words can say.
Cookie and I spent a few days with them for Thanksgiving, and I returned the surprise by showing up early and treating my nephew to a date at McDonald's.
Then Thanksgiving weekend I loved having Hannah and Clayton, their 2 dogs, and Hannah's best friend here to stay. We ate, laughed, played Mad Gab, ate some more, laughed some more, and had such a precious time together. Of course we missed Ross, but he and his girlfriend Brianna had her mom and 2 of her siblings with them in Denver to celebrate Thanksgiving. And with Hannah and Clayton spending their first married Christmas in Asheville, NC with Clayton's family, this mama decided that the best Christmas gift I could give myself would be a plane ticket to Denver. Yes, I am spending Christmas with my son, and am surely hoping it will be a white one. Make sure you milk every moment with your beloveds for all they are worth. They are a gift from the Father above.
On December 15th my delightful music students will be presenting their Christmas recital for their families, friends and the residents of The Heritage at Lowman Home, and again on the 17th at Agape Hospice House. This is one of my favorites highlights of this blessed season, as they sing and play the message of Christmas and give back out of the gifts God has given them. It continues to be a great joy to be their music teacher, and to know and love each of their families.
Funnies From the Road:
Sitting at the table with the lovely ladies' ministry leaders in a church in the upstate, one of them announced, "I heard you years ago speak here, when I was a teenager." I asked, "How old are you now?" "39," was her reply. YEP, I have been privileged to do this ministry a VERY long time.
As I was seated on the front row on a Sunday morning, about to get up to share a full concert, I watched the sound man leave his post, walk right up to the podium during the offertory, and take my song/set list/notes! I had emailed him his own copy the week before, but he had failed to print it out, and had planned to make a copy of mine for himself before the service, but obviously he had forgotten! So there I stood before God, the church, and everybody, trusting the Lord to help me remember the concert and message I had planned for that day. There is always a first time for everything.
People say the funniest things, oftentimes in the ladies' room right before a concert. "I know you. But you look different today, why do you look different?" a woman said to me as we both stood at the counter. "Not sure?" was my reply. As she walked to the door, she turned around, "You do look different today." I guess I will never know if that was a good or bad thing. I choose to believe it was a good thing, even though it was a rainy day, and my naturally curly hair sure did have a mind of its own that morning.
From my bathroom stall, I heard two other women talking from theirs, "I could hear her tell the same stories and still get something new out of them every time." Whew! Then as we all walked out together, we were all three glad it was something nice being said. My mama always said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Truly grateful for the story/stories the Father has given me to share, and how He alone uses them for good.
As we close out the year with our final installment of the Jordan Ministries Newsletter, may we take this chance to thank each of you for your support over 2016. Whether that came through hosting me in your church, attending an event, praying for me and the ministry, or giving financially. With the year coming to an end soon, I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support. If anyone would like to give to Jordan Ministries and receive tax credit for 2016 please note that those donations must be postmarked by December 31st. Thank you again, and I ask God's blessings over each of you this Christmas season and for 2017.
As you are prayerfully considering becoming a monthly partner, or sending a one time gift to Jordan Ministries remember all gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, Jordan Ministries is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Make your donation to Jordan Ministries, and mail them to P.O. Box 2846, Irmo, SC 29063. Thank you for partnering with us through your financial gifts and prayers.
Looking for stocking stuffers for your friends, family and co-workers? Order Dawn's Christmas CD's, on which she is joined by seven-string guitarist Jerry Sims. 2 CD's for only $20! You may purchase your CD set here
Your Presence For Christmas Song list:
1. Let it Snow!
2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
3. Jesus, What a Wonderful Child
4. Your Presence for Christmas
5. Winter Wonderland
6. Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart
7. Christmas Time is Here
8. Mr. Santa
9. Grown-Up Christmas List
10. I Bought You a Plastic Star
11. Frosty the Snowman-Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (guitar solo)
12. Silent Night
13. Bethlehem Morning
Christmas With You Song list:
1. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
2. Mr. Santa
3. (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays (guitar solo)
4. Winter Wonderland
5. Merry Christmas, Darling
Dawn's Blog Amazing Grace Notes
My new blog is entitled "Amazing Grace Notes," and I would love to invite you to join me at http://dawnsmithjordan.blogspot.com/
for regular updates.
Follow me on my DAWN SMITH JORDAN Musician/Band Facebook page to be eligible for the monthly prize give-away trivia contest!
Sunday, December 4th
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Sunday, December 4th
Mizpah Baptist Church
Thursday, December 8th
Carmel Baptist Church
Senior Adult Christmas Luncheon
Saturday, December 10th
New Heights Church
Women's Christmas Coffeehouse
Sunday, December 11th
Eastlan Baptist Church
Special music 10:30 a.m.
Christmas program 6:00 p.m.
Monday, December 12th
St. Andrews Baptist
Deacons' Christmas Banquet
Sunday, December 18th
Cool Branch Baptist Church
Community Wide Christmas Concert
Follow Dawn on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
A Note from Allison
As I stood in the shower praying about what to write, yes you read that right...the shower, I was thinking about the Christmas season, having little ones, decorating, etc. And then it came to me, I will share about gifts! The Christmas season has turned so commercialized and focused on gifts. The best prices (even on food), shopping the sales, who wants what, the right size, the perfect present, the late/early shopping hours, and it goes on and on. But that's not the gifts I'm talking about. I mean the God-given gifts that He has equipped us with and asks us to share with others. I am a stay at home mom of 2 little girls, I don't always have the funds or the flexibility to do certain things. I can't go on a foreign mission trip right now, or volunteer at a soup kitchen, or buy a needy family all their Christmas presents; so instead I ask God to show me the things I can do and that He present the opportunities. When we experienced the flood last year, I did laundry for people. I've cleaned houses of people with health issues. I buy a few gifts for the angel tree at church, and volunteer my time organizing gift cards for them to give out. I can watch kids for others so they can have a few moments to do the things they need to do. Right now, in this season that I'm in, those are the "gifts" I can give. So I challenge you to search yourself and your life and figure out what God-given gifts you have that you can share. It doesn't always have to cost a lot, but that's sometimes the greater sacrifice...your time! May God bless you during this season with plentiful opportunities to share His love for His people.