The Winter Edition of First Press is here!

The cover page of First Press Winter 2021

Read the opening Christmas reflection from Pastor Johanna below or click here to download a PDF of the full edition from FPCC’s website.


As a child, I wanted to grow up as fast as possible – to such a degree, in fact, that my parents always knew what to get me for birthdays or Christmases: anything I would associate with being an adult. For example, when I was five, and my family moved to Germany for a year, I went through a crying phase. My dad would drop me off at kindergarten in the morning and the tears would flow, so my parents made me a deal. If I could go ten days without crying, they would get me my own umbrella – just like my father’s. The crying stopped the next day.


Indeed, my favorite present of all time is something my parents got me for Christmas when I was seven. I still remember coming down the stairs from my bedroom that fateful morning and seeing to the side of the tree a little wooden rocking chair with my name on it. I was like – yes! I have my own chair – just like my dad!


I wanted to grow up as fast as possible as a child: to be able to have my own jar of pickled herring in the frig – just like my dad – my own carton of half and half, my own bedroom.


Now that I am an adult, however, I seem to be reversing course. I am often filled with nostalgia for my childhood and younger years. In particular, I miss the sense of possibility that was so much a part of that time of life.


So for this Advent I chose for a theme for the church and also for myself the word, Awake – in the hope that this theme would focus our attention on the many ways this season invites us to wake up to the possibilities God is preparing for both the world and us:


  • The possibility that a Savior can come from Nazareth, of all places.
  • That big things can grow from little seeds – or little babies.
  • That regular people can take giant leaps of faith – especially when they find themselves in the position to help someone in need of love, support and protection.


May we awaken to the blessings of this season with the same zeal little children awaken Christmas morning!

Pastor Johanna McCune Wagner