Matthew 1:18–21 (NASB95)
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
You might be wondering why I’m using a Christmas passage for a newsletter article in October. One, we can’t be dogmatic about the exact day that Jesus was born. Two, Christmas joy to people and I think experiencing some joy would be a good thing right about now in our country. Three, I want you to know about some great opportunities we have to reach out to our community during the Christmas season (details can be found on our church website under “Outreach: A Bridge to our Community”).
Starting this Sunday (10/11/20) you can pick up one or more of the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes at the church, fill it with the items listed in their guidelines, and return it to the church no later than November 8th. Samaritan’s Purse will then distribute the boxes to needy children all over the world. A fantastic way to share the good news of Jesus with families worldwide.
Bridge Kids (our children’s ministry) is planning a special Candy Cane Lane type event in our church parking lot on the evenings of December 4th-5th. Families will drive slowly through the parking lot, stopping at different stations where they will hear the story of the candy cane, see different stations of the nativity, and hear the gospel of Jesus. There will be life-sized props, music, lights, and storytelling. And there will be gift bags for the kids to take home with great things to read and special projects they can do that are related to Christmas. Contact Xiomara Bueno at the church office if you want to participate in making the props (especially artistic painting), setting up, serving on one or both of the nights, cleaning up, or anything else Xiomara can think of. Bring your kids or grandkids, invite neighbors, and join in on two fun nights of outreach.
We will be participating again in the Angel Tree Program of Prison Fellowship ministries that serves incarcerated parents by sharing the love of Christ with their children and families. This year it will be virtual sponsorships. Instead of buy gifts, people can make an online donation to sponsor a gift package that will include a gift card, personal message from the parent, an age-appropriate Gospel presentation, an opportunity to request a Bible, and a minimum of one gift valued at approximately $20.
We will be having a Christmas Concert on Sunday morning, December 20th. We hope by then to be worshiping in person, but whether in person or online, Pastor Steve is putting together a great morning filled with incredible Christmas music and a gospel presentation. Mark it on your calendars and prayerfully consider who you will invite to join us or watch online.
One more thing… I was informed by our Missions Team that we have already raised the money to send Christmas gifts to our missionaries and their families. We do this every year and it is an incredible blessing to these precious people who are giving their lives to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your sacrificial giving to support our missionaries every month. When you give generously and sacrificially, you are like your Father who is in heaven (John 3:16).
I am looking forward to working with all of you to spread the hope & joy of Christmas to a world that desperately needs what only God can give.