ONCE MORE, AT CHRISTMAS
I hardly need to remind you how special Advent and Christmas are at Winstanley. Most of you know by virtue of having lived through it before. You are aware of much that is coming.
This year, however, the season already has been accentuated by a powerful missionary message from our longtime friend and Executive Director of Woman’s Missionary Union, Sandy Wisdom-Martin. When she spoke to us last Sunday, November 26, she memorably set the tone for our receiving the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. This year the church goal is $9000.
And then comes Advent.
I think of Advent as a time of reflection and anticipation. Part of the reflection for me is personal this time around. I am remembering many years of putting Christmas baskets together, the packed sanctuary on Christmas Eves, and the wide variety of people who have lighted the Advent candles, and . . . . Well, you get the picture.
But Advent is also a time of service, and not just in the way we contribute dollars to various missions endeavors. For a very long time many of us have been involved in special projects through the Christian Activity Center. More recently a good number of us have contributed to a local homeless ministry. Then, there was always ministry which was present, but which kind of flew under the radar, unnoticed by most. You see, Christmas is not a celebration for each of us to take only personally. Jesus died for each of us, as we well know, but His death happened in order to impact the entire world. Therefore, Advent and Christmas are celebrations for communities (like ours) and entire villages and cities and nations and languages and peoples.
The Light that shone in the darkness of ancient Israel shone for more than Israel. The Light that shines from Winstanley Hill most assuredly is to break forth into our larger communities. We are called to shine.
So here is my word on the cusp of another amazing time of year.
Take advantage of every opportunity you are afforded for Jesus’ sake. Keep your eyes wide open for moments of ministry and witness. Let your hands be outstretched in the way not completely unlike the way Jesus’ hands were outstretched for you. Let your ears ring with challenges and joys every day.
At Christmas Jesus came for you. In turn, however, again this year, He is asking you to come and give and live and be for others.
Still grateful to be your pastor,