It is easy to get caught up in the notion that the sky is falling. We deal with real fears and anxieties, but part of being faithful means striving to stay realistic about what we can control and what we need to turn over to God. How can we acknowledge our struggles while living with less worry?
We often focus on the gifts of the wise men. However, the most amazing part of this story is the journey they made and what they gave of themselves in order to worship Jesus. Giving of ourselves to the world is by far the best and most important way we can share Christ’s love and reflect the real meaning of the Christmas story. God was willing to give of God’s self in Jesus so that we might know God’s unconditional love. How might we offer our lives so that others can experience God’s love through us?
One of the greatest gifts in the Christmas story is the gift of joy that the Christ child brings to all people. Joy is not the same as being happy. Joy is deeper and is about who we are as God’s beloved children, not about what is going on in our lives. Christmas is a reminder that no matter what, God loves each of us. How can we share the truth of that joy with others this season?
In a world filled with hurt and difficulty, sometimes excitement is hard to find. Christmas is the story of God overcoming every obstacle and problem to share love with us. How might we find deep excitement in that truth and begin to gift that excitement to the world?
In this season of preparation, are you just decorating your home and wrapping presents, or are you also helping the world be ready to experience God’s unconditional love through Jesus Christ? How might we better prepare ourselves and others for this amazing gift?
Perhaps the most enchanting and haunting feature of Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols is its simplicity. What could be more sublimely austere than medieval carols in Middle English, accompanied by the plucked strains of a lone harp? The picture and the sound evoke the hopeful, watchful sense of the days leading up to Christmas. Join us for worship filled with beautiful music and anticipation of the gift of Emmanuel, God with us!
Do you look forward to Friday at 5pm? Summer vacation? Christmas morning? Looking forward can keep us focused and moving in the right direction. What if we experienced this same anticipation about our faith and the world that God wants for us? How can we share the gift of anticipation about what God has done, is doing, and will still do with our lives and the world around us?
Scripture tells us that “all good gifts” are from God. God wants us to enjoy them and know that we are loved, but God also wants us to help other’s experience the gifts of God’s love, grace, presence and hope. This weekend we give thanks, we celebrate, and we dedicate our lives and our gifts to helping the world know about our generous and loving God!
God offered us the amazing gift of Jesus’ life and ministry. As Jesus’ physical life was coming to a close here on Earth, he promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit that would come and dwell with us forever. Our sacrificial and generous God just keeps finding ways to offer us love! As we accept and appreciate these gifts from God, we also strive to live by God’s example, sacrificially giving and serving others.
As we gather in worship and prayer, we are called to remember that the power and love of God’s Holy Spirit is still with us. We give God thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the community of faith we call church. How can we listen as a community for ways we can help the world experience God’s love and grace?