Christmas Eve Worship Services-
December 24 --- 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. - Worship with Holy Communion
Christmas Day - December 25 -- 10 a.m. Worship with Holy Communion -
Hymn Sing worship without communion ---Sunday, December 29
Church Office & Building Closed Dec. 24 to Jan.1 (except for worship services)
Advent & Christmas
Worship•2019 -- THE SEASON OF ADVENT
★ MORE THAN A MANGER
Sun, Dec 1 (Wed & Thur also)
★ MORE THAN A MANGER: A Light Has Dawned
Sun, Dec 8 (Wed also; No worship on Thur)
★ MORE THAN A MANGER: Where is The King?
Sun, Dec 15 (Wed & Thur also)
★ CHRISTMAS PROGRAM with Adult Choir, Kids Choir, and more
Sun, Dec 22
★ MORE THAN A MANGER: A Sword in the Soul
Tues, Dec 24 & Wed, Dec 25
★ MORE THAN A MANGER: Joy to The World
A Message From Pastor Bob:
A War on Christmas?
What do you think of this description of Christmas?
Christmas is a child of Palestinian Jewish parents desperately fleeing politically ordered genocide.
Christmas is a dark-skinned child, born amid the smell of damp straw and animal dung, because no human-worthy welcome could be found.
Christmas is a poor, itinerant, street-preaching rabbi, living off the generosity of those around him.
Christmas is a compassionate caregiver, feeding and clothing and healing whoever crossed
Christmas is a liberal activist fighting for the poor, condemning violence, shunning material wealth, and calling the world to live sacrificially for the common good.1
This may be a startling portrayal, but one thing is sure: It’s a biblically accurate. And NO, I do not think there is a War on Christmas, as so many like to hawk and babble on about. This may sound harsh, but I don’t accept that there is a War on Christmas because we never did like Christmas to begin with! And I don’t mean you and me. I mean all of humanity.
My memories of Christmas are precious and bountiful. I remember family gatherings, scrumptious meals, and what seemed like millions of decorated cookies. Most of all, I recall lovely Christmas programs at church, populated with kindergarteners wearing haloes, shepherds is drab robes, kings dressed in sparkling finery, and the Holy Family at center stage (And in the large suburban church of my youth, Mary and Joseph wore glittering gold outfits! Honest!). Through these grand events I learned the teachings of Jesus Christ, and how his birth brought us love and acceptance was not just other-worldly, but life-changing. Praise God!
When I was in my 20s, I became enamored with the Holy Bible – the entire book, not just Luke’s nativity narrative. As I dug in, I was fascinated and often caught off-guard. The Christmas traditions of my youth led me to trust in Jesus as the Messiah, but they were not crystal-clear reflections of the biblical truth. They weren’t damaging to my faith, but there were deeper, hidden truths. I came to learn that virtually every church sanitized and over-decorated the true Christmas story. This is probably the case be-cause the realities of Christmas (as cited in the first paragraph above) aren’t very, ah, nice. The hidden story of Christmas wouldn’t do much to sell toys, inspire saccharine movies, or fill sanctuaries and church coffers.
Now before you think I’m just in a bad mood or in need of a strong glass of eggnog, I assure you I will always engage in the joyful, uplifting traditions of Christmas, person-ally and with you as your pastor. But the smells and bells and baubles and bows of Christmas must not obscure the truth of Christmas, that truth being that Jesus was born in order to die. Jesus came because we had lost the war against sin, and from the mi-nute his birth became known, his life was in danger. He presence uprooted the status quo, and still does. His reports about God’s true nature defied the rules, regulations, and hierarchies rooted in human fear and oppression. Jesus modeled and prescribed a life defined by unconditional love, the rejection of earthly wealth and admiration, and the belief that our lives were in the hands of a loving, forgiving God.
Friends, the best news we can share this Christmas is that Jesus is proof that God loves us, even when find ourselves in a constant struggle with disappointment, doubt, and despair. God loves us, affirms us, and forgives us, even when the world wants to swal-low us up with shame, fear, and judgement. May you find the strength to withdraw from any “wars” being waged by or around you and give your life to the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, our Almighty God.
Buy the toys. Watch the movies. Sing the carols. Eat the cookies. And in the truest sense of Christmas – and the real reason for the season – strive to follow Jesus.
Blessed and Merry Christmas to you all.
FALL/WINTER WORSHIP SCHEDULE
Join Us for Worship with Holy Communion
Wednesday Evenings at 6 p.m.
Thursday Morning at 11 a.m.
Sunday Morning at 9 a.m.
FALL/WINTER CHURCH OFFICE & BUILDING HOURS CHANGED
The church office and building will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.Monday through Thursday for the school year. a.m. to 7 p.m. On Wednesday's the building will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. as needed for worship and confirmation. If you need to be in the church building when it is closed, please make prior arrangements with either Kate or Bob.
If you need immediate pastoral assistance,
contact Pastor Bob on his cell phone: