Posted by Sheila Thomasson

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.”  (Matthew 1:23)
  God is with us. What wonderful good news. The God of creation, the God of history, the God of salvation, and the God who claims us as His children, is with us. Again, what wonderful good news!
 
As you receive the newsletter this month, you are entering the month of December and the seasons that we know as Advent and Christmas. For those who recognize and claim Jesus as Lord and celebrate His birth at Christmas, and even those who don’t, the month of December and the Christmas season is a special time of year. People seem just a tiny bit more cheerful, a wee bit friendlier, a little more charitable, and hopefully, a good bit more faith-filled. Maybe it’s just the season, but perhaps, it’s the meaning of the season and the very real likelihood that “God is with us,” and we experience His presence at Christmas. Most people do feel different this time of the year. And even with all the chaos and the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s a good feeling.
 
And so this year, I pray you will join me in celebrating the truth that God is with us, evidenced by the birth of His son Jesus. And to do that, I would offer the following suggestions: read Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1-12; read Luke 1:26-38; and 2:1-20; find a charity or person you can gift with your time or a contribution; listen to, hum, and sing your favorite Christmas hymns; smile at people and say, “Merry Christmas!” worship on the four Sundays during Advent as you prepare to celebrate Christmas and welcome the Christ child; attend our Christmas Eve service and be humbled by God’s love for you and His gift to you; attend our Christmas Day service and let that day be the first gift you receive this Christmas! This is not a large number of things to do, but if we would do them, our Christmas will be special this year and we will truly feel and know that “God is with us.” This is my prayer for you and me, that we feel “God is with us” at Christmas and every day throughout the year.

Merry Christmas, my friends,

Pastor Butler +