Pastor's Article

How spiritually renewing/energizing are you finding the Christmas season to be? Are you taking time to find some joy? We often think the first of the year is the time to make choices about improving ourselves and correcting the direction of our lives. However, I vote for Christmas as the key time to make choices about one thing and that is to receive the good news and joy of the message of Christmas. Afterall, Luke 2:10 tells us, joy is what the angels said they came to bring. Joy is energizing even when circumstances aren’t. However, Christmas can quickly pass by us. Before we know it, we are past the time to gather with friends, go to uplifting activities and worship services. Suddenly, the first week of the new year we are in the gym on a treadmill, swearing (in a good way) this year we are losing weight.
I hope as we approach the final Sunday before Christmas and our Christmas Eve service, you can be reminded there is still time to choose to take time to focus and seek the true meaning of Christmas. Finding the joy and meaning of Christmas is a choice we must make. We need to make the choice because there can be experiences, and stories we hear that can steal our joy. Did you hear about the porch pirate who left a thank you note to a victim? Porch pirate is the name given to a person who steals packages off porches and doorways of homes. Recently one pirate left a thank you note to one of their victims thanking them for making it so convenient to steal from them. If I dwell on a story like that, it won’t be long before I spend the day asking myself, “what is this world coming to.” I would rather look for joy even if it might not be a Christmas story. I look for stories that remind me we are created in the image of God and God’s image shines through people. Recently, Joe Barrow from LSU won the Heisman Trophy. Barrow mentioned in his acceptance speech he comes from one of the most impoverished counties in the country, Athens County, located in south-eastern, Ohio. Barrow got choked-up when talking about the condition in which some kids are living. A person who watched Joe’s speech on television responded by starting a go-fund me page for kids in that county. Within a couple of days over 100,000 dollars was raised and the money will go to local foodbanks for deserving hungry kids and their families. A story like that brings me joy and puts the porch pirates in perspective. I choose to watch for stories like that as I move through the Christmas season. John 1:12 says, “to as many as received Jesus and believe on his name he gave the power to become children of God.” I choose to watch for stories in which people demonstrate they were created in God’s image by their gracious giving and focus on those stories because it brings me joy. It’s my way of receiving the joy of the Christmas season. I hope you are taking time to choose how you want to celebrate the birth of Jesus and all that it means. I also hope you’ll include being with us for worship on the 22nd and for our Christmas Eve service.

It’s All About Him

Pastor Gus

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