What a Thanksgiving Sunday we had together last week at Northeast Middle School! I took the picture below as I was giving the benediction. It was wonderful to see our set up team, our greeting and usher teams, our choir and musicians, and our staff work together to have such a meaningful service. Thank you! And thanks to Northeast Middle School for welcoming us. I am so grateful to see God so at work in us in our “tabernacle season”. Along with the excellent music and the great message from Mark, we welcomed new members, baptized a student and welcomed home missionaries. It was a very special way to end the Thanksgiving weekend.
As we turn the calendar page from November to December, we begin the countdown to Christmas. The amazing story of Christmas is that Jesus came. God didn’t wait for the world to get right before he sent His son into the world as an infant. He could have come anytime. He could have been born in any place. But Jesus came into the world at what could be seen as the worst of times. He was born in a country with a ruler who killed thousands of babies just in case one was a threat. God chose to come into the world in a small obscure town that was not on anybody’s radar.
But the power of Christmas is that He came. Christmas is for a world in need of hope. Christmas came to Bethlehem 2000 years ago and it will come to our Bethlehem this year.
As we count down to Christmas together, our new series is Christmas in Bethlehem. We’ll be thinking about Christmas in the Bethlehem of old. And Christmas in our Bethlehem. What changed when Jesus came? For the people who witnessed it then… And for the people who experience it now? How did it change their neighborhood? And how does it change ours?
This week, I’ll be preaching “A Local Christmas.” We will start with the prologue of John that describes the mystery of the incarnation – Jesus “became flesh and dwelt among us”. Or as Eugene Peterson wrote, “Jesus became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.”
On Sunday, we will light the advent candles and we will sing Christmas music. We will also take communion together. The baby Jesus grew up in a world and went about his local mission. He never stopped loving. He never stopped healing. He never stopped giving himself. And then his local mission went global. It changed the world forever when Jesus died so that people could live.
I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas communion with you. We will be back at BECA high school for our Classic Service (9 am) and our Modern Service (10:30 am).
This weekend also begins a host of opportunities to help you experience the real meaning of Christmas.
Tonight, celebrate Christmas with our missionaries who are home. Click here for more information.
Saturday night, December 1, celebrate Christmas with other families at our Family movie night complete with a meal and a family friendly service project.Click here for more information.
And Sunday, December 2, at 3:30 in the afternoon, our Winter Service of Remembrance, a service of comfort and hope for those who are grieving and experiencing loss over the holidays. Click here for more information.
May we all find time and space for our hearts to “prepare Him room” in this Season.
Your pastor and friend,
Dr. Marnie Crumpler, Senior Pastor