The Pastor’s Piece
Did you ever notice that a woman’s “I’ll be ready in 5 minutes” and a man’s “I’ll be home in 5 minutes” are exactly the same?
This is the time of year when we usually look back and reflect on the past year. If I could sum up the year 2021 in one word it would be “blessed.” My wife and I went from no grandchildren to one on January 11th – a 100% increase! Our church family has more than doubled during the last year. We’ve added more people, more fellowship, and we’ve seen more spiritual growth and depth. I love it when challenging questions come up in our Bible studies and when people go home and continue to study, digging deeper into God’s Word, then asking more questions. I see in real time that God is honoring His Word as we apply it in our lives as we seek Him first in everything. Personally, I’ve never been more excited about teaching and preaching God’s Word. I can see God honoring His Word in our lives individually and as a corporate body. The world only offers fear and worry and anxiety, but God offers peace through faith as we trust Him. Proverbs 3:5 & 6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Not only do we study the Bible, but we do a lot of other fun things at our church. Recently, we had a pie baking contest. Last Sunday we gave away cupcakes from Sweet Shenanigans Bakery in Darlington, Wisconsin. There is a lot of anticipation growing over “Bake Your Best Cake Sunday” which is coming up on December 19th. We are expecting dozens of cakes to show up that day. Cake will be served all morning (along with breakfast).
There is also a lot of growing anticipation over our Sunday school Christmas program on December 19th. Whole families will gather together and witness the joy in the hearts of our Sunday school children as we celebrate Christmas by worshiping and praising our Lord.
There is also anticipation growing over our Candlelight Christmas Eve service on the 24th at 4:00 p.m. when we’ll gather together to sing Christmas carols and end with a candlelit “Silent Night”. This is what assembling together means to us at Martintown Community Church. It’s not just at Christmas that we celebrate like this – we celebrate like this year round. Jesus is alive and the victory is His. We need to celebrate that now more than ever.
This past week a pastor friend of mine was lamenting the fact that secularism has hijacked the Christmas holiday from us Christians. He may be right, but I refuse to let it dampen the joy of the season. We can still praise God and celebrate the birth of our Savior in a manger halfway around the world in the tiny town of Bethlehem. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – the whole world celebrates Christmas with lights – lights on houses, sheds, barns, tractors, trucks, trees and bushes. What better way to celebrate the Light of the world than with lights lit up all around the world!?
With all the rush and busyness of the season, I have to admit, it’s a lot easier Christmas shopping now than it ever used to be, (not that I did a lot of it anyway). But thanks to the miracle of the Internet, my Christmas list can be checked off with a few simple clicks of the mouse. What a great job it must be being a delivery truck driver (from my perspective anyway). Everybody’s glad to see him when he comes up to the front door lugging those packages in both arms. (How about giving him some milk and cookies?)
I do agree that it is easy with all the haste and commotion of Christmas to overlook and under appreciate the beauty of this season and the wonders of God’s love for us in Christ. With places to go, parties to attend, presents to buy, and family gatherings to get to, we too can easily rush by the very meaning and miracle of the Advent.
And yet in a way, Christmas has always been a rush. Going back to that first Christmas we read in our Bibles where the shepherds “made haste” to go to Bethlehem “and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger,” (Luke 2:16).
That was the first Christmas rush, and it reminds us that if we are going to rush around, let’s make sure we make haste to seek out Jesus and celebrate our salvation through Him!
Merry Christmas everyone!