“Heart of Christmas”
“Heart of Christmas” By Pastor Joe
Writing this article on Thursday stirred up feelings of apprehensiveness and optimism, more optimism than apprehensiveness, for our Christmas season at the church and with my extended family. Our first children’s Christmas outreach on the 17th will be a great addition to our Advent opportunities. The biggest challenge is corralling as many little ones as possible for all the practices and the presentation. Please be praying for Pastor Scott and Brandi as this is a first for them.
Here is a little insight into our long-range planning: once every three years we will undertake our large outreach the “Christmas Café”, during the other years are options are Christmas at Lupinewald (hosted by Pastor Joe and Janet at our home), A Hawthorne Family Christmas held at the church, and our newest option the Children’s Christmas program. We will re-evaluate how to sequence our yearly Christmas outreaches moving forward. All have their place, yet we want our outreaches to have eternal significance as a top priority.
Janet and I understand the “Christmas Café” is a large undertaking for a smaller congregation, but we believe in our church members abilities, availability, and most of all we believe God helps us when we step out in faith to reach out to our community. Optimistically I’m declaring all of our Christmas outreaches will be a blessing and success! Not knowing how many people will attend and reminding all of us that success should not be measured only by the number of people in the chairs. More importantly is the number of lives which are impacted by our gathering, which should always be our number one goal. Especially with a focus theme, “The Heart of Christmas”, all of us should want to celebrate with those who choose to be part of our circle of love.
As we continue to share on the theme of “The Heart of Christmas” over the month of December different subjects will be discussed as it relates to Advent. No matter the theme, whenever we gather together (from an eternal perspective) there should be a sacredness to whatever we do. We are entering into the presence of God corporately, because 2000+ years ago God came near to solve man’s heart condition.
Part of our spiritual journey is to be the answer to someone else’s situation, and your presence at these outreaches speaks volumes. Another significant aspect of gathering is the opportunity for all to share about their journey. This means we gather with renewed excitement and find encouragement from one another’s stories about Immanuel. We are also signifying to the world the importance of the body of Christ coming together on a regular basis. Even a simple gathering to share a meal is very important. The Heart of Christmas is fully alive when we choose to gather, and celebrate our Savior drawing near to us. We are all strengthened and renewed hope helps us stay the course on our journey of life.
Let me repeat, my excitement for all who will be participating during Advent through your involvement with any of the upcoming gatherings, including the open house at the Elness home on December 23rd from 3 till 8- mark it on your calendar. Last thought as we gather together to celebrate The Heart of Christmas, what can you offer up from your supplies whether it be your time, talent, or treasures! Wisemen still seek him!