A Gift for Jesus
With Thanksgiving last week, the holiday season is officially here. With it comes the shopping for, wrapping of, and exchanging of gifts! It is always a joy to receive something special this time of year and an even greater joy to see the wonder and excitement of others as we offer our own gifts to them. I always love seeing the boys on Christmas day (and on other days with family) as they open their gifts.
But two of my favorite parts of Christmas has become two gifts that our family gives each year. Several years ago, Courtney and I read about the challenge to match Christmas spending dollar-for-dollar with an offering to God's work in the world as a present to Jesus on his birthday. Since then, each year we have invited our churches to join us in supporting a Christmas Offering for Others. This year is no exception, and we plan to collect an offering at our Christmas Eve Service to support the World Service Fund of the UMC - a fund that supports missionaries and mission work where they are needed the most across the world. I hope you will consider making a gift to this important work along with us.
The second thing we have enjoyed for the last few years has been taking time on Christmas Day to thank those who give part of their day to serve others - emergency service workers, gas station attendants, and nursing home staff among others. The boys have made cards and goodie bags of cookies or candy to give to these workers as we visit these places on Christmas afternoon. The smiles and surprise that we get makes us know that this truly a gift for Jesus.
There are so many ways to offer a gift to Jesus this holiday season. I hope that you will join our family in adding him to your holiday list.
Blessings on the journey, Jim
God's Christmas List
What would be on God's Christmas list? What did the prophets tell us God wants, and what was God up to just before the birth of Jesus? We are exploring these questions as we prepare for the coming of Christmas.
Last Week's Sermon Snippet: Hope
(Jeremiah 29:10-14; Luke 1:5-24)
In the midst of the world falling apart around them as the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and hauled them off into captivity, Jeremiah - so often one with words of doom and gloom - offered words of hope: that God wanted to give them hope and a future. Hundreds of years later just before the birth of Jesus, Zechariah and Elizabeth, an older couple yearning for a child that never came, received the promise of a child to call their own who would bring hope not only to them but to all the people of God. One of the things we're likely to find on God's Christmas list is Hope! God wants us to have hope in the midst of the brokenness and hurts of our lives and in the midst of the violence and hopelessness that fills our world.
Looking Ahead: Love
Of course, we all know that love would be on God's Christmas list. God wants us to be loved and for us to love another. But love is one of those words we have used so often in so many different ways that we sometimes lose sight of what love really means. What does it really mean that God loves us unconditionally? How can we love someone we don't even like or know? Join us this Sunday as we explore why "Love" makes the cut for God's Christmas List!
Bible Basics: How to Read the Bible
Have you ever thought about reading the Bible more but you weren't really sure where to begin? Have you ever started reading the Bible from the first page and trudged halfway through Exodus before just plain giving up? Is there a better way to read the Bible? How can I best learn about what's in the Bible? Join us in Sunday School this week as Pastor Jim leads a discussion of how to read the Bible!
Christmas Eve Dinner
If you do not have any family plans on Christmas Eve, join us for dinner before our worship service. Last year the Christmas Eve Dinner was a great time of fellowship and celebration together, and the only complaint we got was that you wanted more time to visit with your church family before the service. So we are moving the mealtime to 5:30 pm with the service to follow at 7:00 pm. Dinner will include ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, potato salad, deviled eggs, and fresh bread. If you would like to join us for the meal, please let Dianna know by December 14 so that we can plan accordingly to have enough food for everyone. We hope to see you there!
Living in Community
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, December 2
9:30-2:00 - Office Hours
Thursday, December 3
9:30-12:00 - Office Hours
Sunday, November 29
9:30 am - Worship: "God's Christmas List: Love"
11 am - Sunday School
Join our Adult Sunday School Class as Pastor Jim teaches on ""Bible Basics!"
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!