A new year lies ahead of us. An old one is behind. This is always a special time when new opportunities and adventures seem to present themselves. What will 2016 bring for us and for our church? The possibilities seem unlimited. Personally, will there be career changes? New housing? Additions to the family through marriage or birth? We will see as the new year unfolds. As a church, will we see growth in numbers and in spiritual maturity? Will we seek to serve others with a new urgency? Will Jesus become more real to us as we walk with him?
As we focus on personal New Year?s resolutions may we also focus on new goals and expectations for the church. As your Christian Education director, I see a need for more Sunday School teachers as the numbers and ranges of age in the children increase. I also see the need and desire for individuals to study God?s word in depth in our Bible Study groups. I see a need for outreach to those who would benefit from hearing the gospel as it is preached hear Sunday after Sunday. I pray for strength and guidance for all our church leaders.
May we be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in 2016. May we have discernment about where and how to invest our energy and resources. And at the end of 2016 may we expect to hear our Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Join us on Christmas Eve at 5 pm for a candlelight service to welcome the newborn king!
Free Christmas Concert 2015
Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 20, 3 pm, featuring a collection of anthems, solos, duets, quartets, with brass and violins. Everyone is invited to attend!
Some of us are old enough to remember Bing Crosby crooning “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas...” Trouble is, those of us old enough to remember the song aren’t dreaming so much of a white Christmas, as perhaps a warm Christmas, or maybe a quite Christmas. Anything that doesn’t involve shoveling snow and moving at the staccato rate of the television commercials that first tell us to go there and buy that, and then tell us to buy that and go there.
Actually, what I’m dreaming of is a slow Christmas. I want my Christmas to be slow enough I can gaze into the beauty of Christmas, the beauty of God Incarnate, of God fused to humanity in a child -- Jesus, my Lord.
On second thought, maybe I do want a white Christmas. There is probably nothing as effective at slowing things down than a big, unexpected dumping of snow over everything. It really takes the whole commercial bit down a notch or two. No wild shopping frenzy. No compulsive socializing. Just quietly marveling at the splendor of a world drenched in white -- preferably seen through the window closest to a fireplace.
I suspect the problem of overdoing it at Christmas has been around for quite a long time. The folks visiting Bethlehem that first Christmas had the same problem. They had come into town from other villages to be registered in the census. Upon their arrival they had to scour the streets looking for a place to stay. Then they had to fight the crowds to get something to eat and find directions to the place where they would meet the government requirements.
The residents of Bethlehem were busy that first Christmas - renting rooms, cooking meals, making beds -- hoping to make a buck or two off the visitors. The feed store owner was working as hard as Boston snow plow drivers, taking care of all the donkeys who needed hay to eat. And more people just kept pouring into the little town of Bethlehem.
In Bethlehem there were a few people who stood apart from the busy crowds. Shepherds. Out doing their job on the hillsides, watching sheep. Not the most exciting thing, but it paid the rent. They weren’t to concerned about what was happening in town. They just huddled around a fire to keep warm and swapped stories. They led a quite life.
Then it changed. The sky -- the sky lit up. They heard the news about the most important thing going on in town -- most important thing in the world. Without questioning, without hesitating, they immediately went to Bethlehem to check it out. To see for themselves the incredible things they had just been told. They find the baby. His parents. Right there in the stable -- just like the angel had said.
Let me tell you, they weren’t worried about their clothes, or whether or not they had Christmas gifts. All they could hear were the words of the angel ringing in their hearts – "This very day in David’s town your Saviour is born – Christ the Lord."