It is the most wonderful time of the  year…..the next 72 hours are truly a crescendo that  has been building up (for me) during the months of October – November – and today…..I’ve been playing Christmas music in my office – car – and TV long before Thanksgiving….It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year….

             Why do I say that?  December has arrived with all the joys of Christmas.  But WHAT is the real meaning of Christmas?  Is it a tree – with dozens of gifts underneath?  Is it a gazillion lights?  Is it family turkey dinners?  Is is stocking hung by the chimney with care, hoping St. Nick would soon be there?  Is it a jolly man dressed in a red suit shouting “Ho- Ho- Ho – Merry Christmas…Is this really Christmas?

             Some we know – will be going through much sorrow this year – death has taken a loved one…..some will be unable to purchase gifts for their loved ones.  Some will be saddened this Christmas because they loved ones will not be able to come home for multiple reasons.   Presents – turkeys- fellowship may be only a wish for many this year.      

 YET—–Christmas can be a time of Great Joy!!! – God showed us His love when He sent Christ into the world – and we can reflect that love – demonstrate that love – speak of that love as we remember CHRISTMAS is when you celebrate the birth of Christ.  The birth of Christ brought great joy to the world – the Shepherds – the Angels – the Wise Men all shared in the joy of celebrating this great event.

 Why did God send His one and only Son into this mixed up cruel world?  2 Peter reminds us that God does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance.  Luke 19 gives us the story of Jesus and the wee-little man up in a Sycamore tree – Jesus told him he had come into the world to seek and save that which was lost.   

 Jesus was born to die — and as you and I reflect on His life from the promise of His coming in Genesis 3:15 – to his cruel death on Calvary – giving way to His glorious Resurrection – we conclude as the song teachings – What a Strange Way to Save the World”…

 Regardless of our situation today – we can be full of JOY – to know we are children of the King – to know our sins are forgiven – to know heaven will one day be our eternal Home.  Rejoice oh Christian men rejoice.  Rejoice oh Christian women rejoice- Christ your King has conquered Death – Hell – the Grave and Satan….Joy to the World the Lord is Come.

            With gratitude – joy – and deep appreciation in our hearts – we want to thank Discovery for remembering us at Christmas time with a most generous bonus —

The families of

 Doug & Jackie Drage                       Max & Annie Jennings

There is no doubt there will be a double excitement to gather for our Celebration services this weekend…..I say that from multiple angles 1) we didn’t get to have church last weekend because of the ice….and 2) this Saturday/Sunday is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day….I want to thank Kevin, Solomon, Keyan and Vern for helping Jackie complete the props and place them on the stage for the Children’s Christmas Program Saturday evening….(There will be NO children’s program on Christmas Day) There will be several piece – parts to our Christmas Eve service that you will enjoy —
· Children’s music – play – etc
· Celebrating the Lord’s Supper by the light of glow sticks
· Message will be from Matthew 1 – Making Room for Love

This weekend will be our final worship experience for the year 2016….this means it will be our final opportunity to bless the Lord as well as Discovery with a year-end financial gift. 2 Weeks ago we had a very weak offering – and last weekend no church – not offering – so what a wonderful way to close out our Advent Month – thanking God for the coming of Jesus Christ and the anticipation of His 2nd coming with a wonderful financial blessing given to the Lord. Christmas Day – will be a normal worship experience – though all our music will be Christmas Carols – and the message will be from Luke 2 —- Behold, I bring you news of great joy which will be for ALL the people….that includes you and me —
Please understand this weekend everything regarding our celebration services will be different in that we have 2 separate messages – Children’s activities on Saturday only….

I want to thank everyone who either light the Advent Candles for the month of December or read the Old Testament Passage – encouraging us as the ancient Jews looked for the coming of Messiah – we with equal anticipation look for Messiah to come a 2nd time to take the church out of the world and present it to the father as a pure and spotless Bride without spot or wrinkle…. Hallelujah………….Kaylee Faddis scored 14 points for Oakland Tuesday evening in a basketball game against Boonville………..It was a joy to meet with the men at our Wednesday D-Group at Lucy’s……D-Group study is complete for the year – but the men wanted to get together for fellowship – food- laughs….they want to do the same thing next Wednesday…..As the year of D-Group came to a close – it was so powerful to hear man after man speak how much this group has taught them….encouraged them….and how much thy look forward to being together….if anyone wants to know the purpose of D-Group this testimony ought to ring the bell……………Our Tuesday afternoon prayer group enjoyed a wonderful delicious meal at Red Lobster — we believe there is a time to pray and there is a time to eat.  Tuesday it was a time to eat – and did we ever – to use a biblical term – we fared scrumptiously KJV Luke 16:19………….

·      Great Services this weekend as we celebrate Christ coming – Christmas Eve – and Christmas Day

·      Bekka – Courtney’s friend whose premature baby came yesterday — babies name is Ellie – pray for healing – strength for mommy and baby

·      Kiki Marshall and family will be traveling back to Ohio to see what procedures can be applied to help her heal – church please make this a matter of continuous prayer

·      A general prayer – after last Friday/Sat inclement weather – several around town are suffering broken bones – ribs/ankles/arms – and several have dented cars – little discouraging as Christmas is 2 days away…..

·      Prayer of thanks that no one from Discovery had any issues over last weekend accept delay – delay – delay — I’ve heard a legion of these stories – but glad everyone is safe & sound….great answer to prayer –

bustedhalo

#ADVENTJOLT

 Bless us Lord, this Christmas, With quietness of mind;

Teach us to be patient, And always be kind

 –Helen Steiner Rice

TODAY’S #MICROCHALLENGE

Today, make a plan to keep the spirit of Christmas alive

Throughout the year.  Plan to volunteer in your

Community.  Give regular donations to charity or simply

Make an effort to be kinder to those around you

Leading up to Christmas, we light the candles on the Advent wreath to mark the time we use to prepare for the birth of Jesus. Lighting the wreath is a tradition that points to our patient participation of Christmas to come.  The candlelight (represents the presence of God) with garland (eternal life) and each candle (peace, joy, love, and hope), to prepare us for the journey of Advent. Each sign and symbol in our faith tradition are rich with spiritual significance.

Let’s not take for granted the singing of the great Christmas Carol’s and the deep – rich – message they give.  We sing about the Incarnation in the familiar Advent hymn, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” translated from Hebrew meaning, “God among us.” This is our way of proclaiming and participating in the story of Christ’s birth.

 The festivities, food, family, and faith we celebrate during Advent and Christmas are experiences rich with meaning, enacted to honor the joy, nourishment, belonging, and participation Christ wants for us. Festive dinners, twinkle lights, tree decorating, and family Christmas movie nights are precious moments of joy that connect us with a loving God during this beautiful Advent and Christmas season.