Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Christmas Praises 15

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

christmas-15During 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.

My father passed away many years ago a few weeks after Christmas.  I took his passing very hard.  Before then, Christmas was all about presents, parties and bright lights.  After Dad died, I realized how much I needed a church family, and joined First Church, as my former church was so far away that I didn’t go to it often.  It felt good to be welcomed into a church family when my own family was in so much pain.

For many years after Dad died, it was hard to celebrate Christmas without experiencing deep sorrow from missing him.  As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that Dad lives in me all the time and that he would want me to enjoy the spirit of Christmas again.  I still get sad, but I also try to make the holidays bright for everyone around me.  Between going to church services in several churches with friends, enjoying activities like the wonderful Cantata, cheerfully greeting everyone I encounter and donating my time and money to help others in need, I have once again found a way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Christmas really isn’t about the presents.  It’s about being present and being helpful.  It’s about loving everyone, and doing what Jesus would want us to do.  Merry Christmas.

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 15, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Songs

Psalm 100:1–2 (KJV)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before his presence with singing.

RayMcDAre you enjoying some Christmas music some Christmas songs this year? I’m listening to Pandora Radio as I type – a channel called Pentatonix (Holiday). I also listen to Frank Sinatra (Holiday). On my XM radio in the car I listen to Channel 18 (Holiday Traditions) and Channel 58 (Country Christmas). On the regular radio I listen to FM 97.1 because they are playing Christmas music 24 x 7.

With Christmas coming – I was curious – are you listening to any favorite channels? If so – how about sharing them with our readers. What are your favorite Christmas Carols? Name your top five if you would. It might be interesting to read what others appreciate.

Not in any particular order – but I would name these hymns as my favorite.
—- Noel
—- O Holy Night
—- Away in a Manger
—- Silent Night
—- O Little Town of Bethlehem Continue reading

December 15, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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