Notes from Fred:
Sunday was a wonderful day in the life of our Family – Our Worship Center filled with members, friends, and Guests; the baptism of Carter Benson; the heart-uplifting gift of The Christmas Story, told by our Children! (If you were not able to do it on Sunday, take time to thank our children, Verna, Ina, and the parents of our children, for the long hours of practice and the amazing gift that they gave us.)
Our Family has the opportunity to continue to have our hearts lifted on two special days this week:
On Christmas Eve at 7:00, our Service of light, music, and God’s Words of Good News, announced on that night 2016 years ago for our lives today.
On Christmas Day at 10:30, the too rare time when Christmas and Sunday come together. What better way to celebrate Christmas than by coming together to worship and to come to the Table of the One who is the reason for this day!
And in preparation for Sunday, remember to answer the three questions on our Christmas Day Card: What do you want to give to Jesus? What do you want Jesus to give to you? What question do you have for Jesus? Bring your cards and offer them to Jesus. I will respond in the next few Sundays, as we go into the New Year….
Tell Me the Story of Christmas
On Sunday, our Children’s Christmas Choir fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, who proclaimed that the One who is coming is our Savior, and, that when he comes, we will respond with thanksgiving and by singing and shouting the Good News to all the world. (Isaiah 12)
- This was the 4th Sunday of Advent, the time when we have been preparing for Jesus to come into our hearts and lives in a new way this Christmas. Each week, the Prophet Isaiah proclaims who is coming, and what that means for us.
- This Sunday, Isaiah proclaimed that the One who is coming is the Savior of the world, the One who comes to save us from our sins and to give us “fresh water” for fresh, start-again lives. And when our Savior comes, Isaiah urges us to “Tell all the nations what he has done; tell them how great he is; let the whole world hear the news – Let everyone shout and sing, for now he lives among us!”
- So often we do not have the courage, confidence, or (in our minds) the competence to tell someone who needs Jesus of his offered gifts of salvation, “fresh water,” and his presence with us.
- Our children showed us the way to respond to the urgings of Isaiah. They told the story in simple (not simplistic) terms, from the announcement to Mary and Joseph, to the birth in Bethlehem, to the shepherds and the Wise Men who heard the Good News, came running, and went away, never the same again…. And they told The Story of Good News with shining faces, happy hearts, and with shouting and singing that filled our Worship Center with great joy!
- The question for us is whether their shouting and singing of the Good News of salvation, fresh water, and presence, found a way into our hearts, to fill not only our Worship “in here” with great joy, but also our lives “out there.”
- Our children left us with three questions. The First Question came through as our Narrator (thank you John Hobson) said: “That’s the end of the story” – and the children shouted: “No it’s not! There’s still one part left, the part about us!” What will we do in response to this potentially life-changing Good News?
- The Second Question offered an answer to the First, coming through in our children’s “Celebrate” song: “Jesus has a present for you. Close your eyes and open your heart to his gift of light and love!” Will we open our hearts to the light and love of Jesus? If we will, then “our part” will be lives that receive his salvation, fresh water, and presence with us.
- The Third Question moves us beyond the first two, which focus on us, to focus, in addition, on others: Will you shout and sing the Good News to all the earth? Will we follow the example of our children, do as they did, and do as they sang in the last words of their last song: “Jesus Christ is born. Let every voice shout and sing!”
- It is up to us, this is part of “our part,” to shout and sing the Good News brought through the birth of Jesus – salvation, fresh water, “now he lives among us.” It is only when we shout and sing this Good News to all the lives around us, those who need so much the gifts of Jesus, that they will, like us, close their eyes and open their hearts… and receive the light and love of our Savior who came for them, and for all the earth!
Connection for the Week: Close your eyes in prayer and open your heart as you pray to receive the gifts of Jesus of his light and love; pray for the courage, confidence, and competence to go and “shout and sing” the Good News of our Savior to someone who needs him; then go and give that gift, as our children did for us.