“Lift up your heads….Look, the King of Glory comes!” Ps.24
Deep down there is a longing in the heart of each of us…a longing to know hope and love, to experience joy, and to live in peace….and to give these things away in our lives. Perhaps this Christmas, you find yourself especially hoping and dreaming and longing for these things. Where is this longing especially great in your life? We dream of a world ruled by these things. We desire these things for those we love. We long for these things in our own lives.
Christmas is a time when these universal longings of the heart that mysteriously are part of every human being bubble up and burst out from beneath the surface in unmistakable ways. Donations to charities go way up as many want to help others experience the hope they themselves so desperately want to know and feel at Christmas. Heart- warming special movies and programs on TV are seen-some newer, and some shown over and over again (Charlie Brown’s Christmas, The Grich that Stole Christmas). Most buy gifts for one another, a tangible way of trying to bring hope, love, joy, and peace into our lives and the lives who are special to us. Certainly, people cry out about the “commercialization of Christmas,” but it seems to me the fact of the matter is that we all are looking and longing for hope, love, joy, and peace, with the giving of gifts just one way we try to find –and give- these things. We may stuff these longings inside of us for a whole year, but finally, it is impossible to keep them buried. We all –every single one of us- know that our world and our lives are broken. Every day we experience hopelessness, lovelessness, joylessness, and no peace in our lives and our world… AND WE KNOW THIS IS NOT THE WAY THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE!
We long for hope in our lives…For love in our lives…For peace in our lives…For joy in our lives. We need Christmas. We long for Christmas…And not just for a moment or a day or a month, but a Christmas that transcends all time…every day of our lives and beyond.
The problem is that so often year after year we look for it in all the wrong places. We try to build it or to find it in all the wrong ways. And like one who is insane, we keep thinking we will get something knew –that we will finally find Christmas - by doing the same things that have not worked over and over again. This year, God would give us the gift of what Christmas really is…His gift of hope, love, joy, and peace that can and does transcend all time, transforming our lives and our world not just for a season but all year through and beyond. Where do you especially need -long for –Christmas? Right in this place, God would bring you the free gift of the hope, love, joy, and peace of Christmas. This is our focus on the four Sundays leading up to our Christmas celebration. Interested? We’d love to have you join us!...and bring a friend! (Bring these gifts into their lives as well!)
“Lift up your heads (from all that would weigh you down!)…Look, the King of Glory comes!" Ps.24
Sunday, November 27th“You Can Know (and give!) Love -Christmas Love- Even Now, Even Today”
Love. We – everyone – seems to know instinctively, deep in our souls, that we both need love and we need to give love away for life to be what it was meant to be. Where do you especially need love in your life right now? Where is your life being turned upside down and you just need someone to hold you close in love? Where do you know you have fouled up and don’t deserve it, but still so desperately need someone to still love you? Where do the dangers and challenges and questions of life seem absolutely overwhelming so that you cry out for someone to stand with you – to be there for you – in love? All of these is what God does- what He offers you and empowers you to give away – in the love of Christmas….the special love called grace. Where do you need this love in your life? To whom can you give it?
Sunday, December 4th “You Can Have (and Give!) Hope –Christmas Hope- Even Now, Even Today”
When I was in Hungary for the first time, my heart went out to a number of people who talked to me about how there was no hope for change amongst the people –and especially the young people- of this proud yet at times economicallystruggling country in Eastern Europe. No hope that anything can or will change….maybe this is a good definition of hopelessness. Where do you need hope - hope that things can change, that things can be different - in your life?...and in our world? To whom can you bring such a hope? Such is the hope of Christmas…a free Christmas gift to you….so you can give it away!
Sunday, December 11th “You Can Experience (and share!) Joy –Christmas Joy- Even Now, Even Today”
Have you ever played with a Beach Ball which has sprung a leak? As the air goes out of it, gradually it loses its form and soon you can’t do much of anything with it. Joy is being filled with a deep happiness. But often we spring a leak and soon lose it, especially if our joy was based on something that was “here today and gone tomorrow.” Christmas joy is a gift that transcends all time. It is a gift that God would give us every moment of everyday and beyond. Christmas joy is meant to fill us up always….and it is a gift that was meant to be given away. Where do you need such joy in your life? To whom can you give it away?
Sunday, December 18th “You Can Live in (and share!) Peace –Christmas Peace- Even Now, Even Today
Peace. It seems like a pipe dream, doesn’t it? Where do you struggle to live in peace?...Peace in body, soul, mind, and spirit. Peace that “passes all human understanding.” Peace that transcends all time, peace that is greater than any situation, any problem, any hurt, any pain, any-thing. Peace to take into our world. This is Christmas peace, a free gift that God would give us today and always. Where do you especially need such peace in your life? To whom can you give it away?
Christmas Eve Worship- With Us.. With You!
Is God there for us?...for you?...For me? Christmas is God’s resounding “YES!” answer to this question. It is our focus tonight. It is for you.
Christmas Day Worship Good News! Joy! For All!
What is Christmas all about – really? How is it to be understood? This morning we remember: “Good News! Joy!...For All!” This is Christmas understood. And it is for you!