December 2018

In my family, as I was growing up, there were certain traditions and schedules that surrounded our Christmas celebrations. The Christmas tree went up about a week after Thanksgiving, it generally coincided with the beginning of Advent. The tree was decorated by everyone, I was especially gifted at putting the single thin strands of tinsel on the clumps, one at a time, and well spread out because that is how God meant it to be done.

Soon after the tree was up, presents started showing up as if by magic. Every day we would check the tree and shake the presents trying to figure out what they might be. And each day the excitement of the coming day grew.

We didn't open any Christmas presents until Christmas morning, which didn't set very well when we had friends who opened at least one the night before. No Christmas Eve wasn't for presents, it was for Church. In our home, it wasn't Christmas until we had worshiped. My Mom and Dad, as much as they (more so my dad) loved getting on the floor and opening presents with us, kept us reminded of what the day was about. The time in Church with our church family, with the songs and readings of Christmas, is what shaped and surrounded the glorious day.

My family went to Church just about every Sunday...but whether you come every Sunday or once a year, this celebration, where our world slows down and we are reminded that light shines in the darkness, is too important to let pass without pausing for prayer and song. Especially this year, we need to be reminded that the darkness could not, and can not, overcome the light. And our children need to be reminded that in the child of Bethlehem there is always hope.

May the Lord of Bethlehem remind us that the small things matter, may you be lifted by the love that surrounds you, and may your Christmas be filled with the songs of angels.

Oh....and I hope and pray you find a present that is just exactly what you were hoping for, and may you be that present to someone else.

Pastor Mike