Merry Christmas!

Jesus is the Only Hope That Will Not Disappoint

One of my personal highlights each year is always getting to wish you “Merry Christmas” at each of our Christmas Eve gatherings. Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year but beyond church services, my “Christmas joy” is quite different now than in the past.
When I was a child, my Christmas joy was getting all of the adults out of bed, getting the movie camera ready to capture my excitement when I first laid my eyes on the big gift that would mysteriously show up Christmas morning.
As a parent, my Christmas joy came through trying to recreate the same Christmas magic for our children that I had experienced as a child.
As an “empty-nester,” my Christmas joy came with the opportunity to spend time with our daughters and their families, playing golf with the sons-in-law and playing baseball, softball,  and soccer with the grandkids.
Then came this year when nobody will be home for Christmas, my focus has shifted to allow me to evaluate once again the meaning of Christmas joy.
Where do you find “Christmas joy”?
For some, getting the Christmas decorations out is exciting and for others it has lost some of the magic because of the disappointment you anticipate from the expectation of what you (consciously or subconsciously) think Christmas is supposed to be, won’t measure up.
Does your Christmas joy depend on people who will or will not be there?
Does your Christmas joy come from gifts?
Does your Christmas joy come from the anticipation of a new romance entering your life (which seems to be the topic of many modern “Christmas” songs)?
A question occurred to me this season, “Shouldn’t ‘Christmas joy’ be an unchanging constant rather than  a “variable” that’s determined by who or what may or may not show up?
We often say, “Jesus is the reason for the season” but then look elsewhere for the joy only He can bring.
When our Christmas joy is centered in Him, it will become the “constant” and immune to the actions of others for . . .
Jesus is the only person who will always be there.
Jesus is the only gift that will satisfy
Jesus is the only hope that will not disappoint.
I am extremely looking forward to the joy of sharing THAT message with you when we gather to celebrate Christmas as a church family this Friday and Saturday!
There is considerable controversy about whether or not churches will meet for Sunday morning the next two weekends as this photo I snapped while in Phoenix back in October. Are we selling out by not meeting?

Our church is overseen by elders, led by staff but run by an army of volunteers. We seek to “advance the kingdom of God in ways that value people and honor God” and we believe the best way to do ALL of that is to have four Christmas services on the 23rd and 24th and then let everyone (Elders, Staff, and Volunteers) have a quiet Christmas Day even though it falls on a Sunday this year.
We also aren’t meeting on Sunday morning the following week either which is New Year’s Day. I don’t believe in setting up artificial “tests of faith” to measure people’s commitments to God and we chose to gather for worship at 4:00pm on New Year’s Day because we believe that will be the best way to honor God and value people next weekend.

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