Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Christmas Praises 3

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

christmas-3During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

Tinsel and lights, sparkle and shine, we celebrate his birth. It is Christmas Time.

Christmas has always been a magical time of year for me. Of course when I was younger the prospect of catching Santa delivering gifts or the time off of school was a huge deal but as an adult looking back I realize that two things ring true about Christmas for me and always have. The first is happiness and the second is love. What is it that marries these two together at Christmas?

When I was a child, back in my hometown there was a display downtown depicting Santa Clauses from around the world. I loved how each country represented had a different costume for Santa and different customs. Standing in the atrium of a glass building looking at all the different Santas, I felt this wonderful feeling of belonging. I was one with the world. Our Santas were not the same but the spirit behind them was.

What brings me joy this season is once again a feeling of belonging. At First United we are family. We are brothers and sisters under the grace of God, united in our faith and blessed with a relationship with Jesus. To me, for this season especially, the Christmas season is about having that bond. Worshipping together and gathering for social events fills us with happiness. It is what holds us together as a family and allows us to be a church that helps others and represent Jesus’ love. Just like the Santas in the glass hall, we are diverse and yet all united in the same spirit. Doing for others makes us happy. Lifting up others helps to lift us up as well, both as individuals and as a church family. The care and concern we have not only for each other but for our community and the world is a manifestation of love. Praying for others and providing encouraging words. That is love in action. Our various ministries provide support for all kinds of different people in different circumstances. And at the root of all of this is Jesus. It is his birth that provides the happiness and love that we are blessed to experience at First United.

The marriage of those two things, happiness and love is what Christmas is all about after all. It is the incomparable JOY, (the happiness we have in our hearts) as we feel the incredible love of the Lord that shines through. The overwhelming and freely given love that God showed us by giving us his own son.

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.


December 3, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Personal | , , , ,

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