DON’T FORGET TO BRING IN YOUR ORNAMENTS THIS SUNDAY FOR OUR VSCC FAMILY CHRISTMAS TREE

 

2 VERSIONS OF THE CHRISTMAS STORY

 

 

Version 1: Jesus brings us good stuff like Santa

Version 2: Jesus offers us new life through the Holy Spirit

 

Let’s start by taking a look at the characteristics of each.

 

Version 1: Jesus is like Santa

>Jesus is born in a manger in a stable surrounded by his parents and some animals … with shepherds and Magi as special guests.

> We discover that Jesus is also the Messiah, the Christ.

> We are glad because finally someone will forgive us our sins.

> We are also glad because Jesus serves as our mediator between us and his often angry & judgmental Father (God).

> We are also glad because Jesus will be our own pathway to heaven.

> And, we are content with this rather secular and limited description of our new religious leader.

> Can we open Santa’s presents now?

 

Version 2: Jesus is God, and brings to us the Holy Spirit

> The birth of the Christ in Bethlehem offers us the opportunity to give “birth” to Him in our own hearts.

> Jesus has come to liberate us from our bondage to material things and worldly ways.

> Jesus is born to show us more fully the ways of our God, so that we will not be confused or misled.

> Jesus’s birth shows us the true Goodness of God, who holds all the wisdom and truth in the universe.

> God came to be born on earth to demonstrate that God doesn’t just live outside of us as a human being, but more importantly, Jesus lives within each of us, and we can never be separated from God.

> The babe in the manger proves that God is always just, and always unconditionally loving and forgiving.

> And, through Jesus, we come to believe that God is the one and only true god, and is the creator of all things, no exceptions.

 

Neither of these versions is necessarily bad or wrong in themselves. But what a difference it makes in your life, and the lives of your loved ones, when you can expand your Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus to incorporate the Spiritual Reality of Who God is, and what God has actually done for us with the birth of Jesus.

 

Many Christians still worship Jesus at Christmas as if Jesus was kinda like Santa (Version 1). If you’re one of those, then this Christmas is the time to stretch your perspective of what God has done and come to realize that Jesus didn’t come just to bring us some good stuff (forgiveness, salvation, a savior, etc.), but God came to us as Jesus to rescue us from ourselves and give us the freedom to be our true selves, as limited and fallible as we are.  

 

If you still have doubts, come to Bethlehem this year and see what God has done to save us and the world we live in.

 

Advent Blessings to All!

Meet me in Bethlehem,

Pastor Bob <><

 

  

 

 

 

 


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HELP DECK THE VSCC FAMILY CHRISTMAS TREE

Dear Vine Street Christian Church Family,

 

The tree decorating season has come to our church, and we are creating our own church family Christmas tree.  

The Worship Team invites ALL of our VSCC family and friends to bring a personal favorite or a special family ornament. Or, make an ornament during worship, Or, just bring in a used French fry bag. It won’t matter. Be creative. Or not.

It’s going to look great on our tree.

Bring your ornament(s) starting this Sunday!

And YES, you will get yours back, starting Dec. 26th.

  Reflections on Christmas Trees:

Have you noticed the beautiful Christmas tree in our Sanctuary? It’s up in the overflow space, or what we are beginning to call, “the heavenly loft.” I love where it stands; in the front corner of the loft, serving as a bridge of light connecting the loft and the lower pews. But most of all, I love how it reflects so brightly on our prayer wall. It’s a beautiful sight!

 Our VSCC Family Christmas tree resembles, a bit, the “Charley Brown” Christmas tree featured above. Remember how that tree in the picture started out? A tiny twig. And now look what it has become today. And especially notice those around the tree. Folks – that’s a happy group of people. Indeed, I think it’s beyond happy. That is what Joy looks like.

 You see, a true “Christmas” tree is a lot more than just a decorated tree (real or not) with ornaments and lights. A Family Christmas Tree looks like that smile of pure satisfaction on Charlie Brown’s face. It sounds like a joyous chorus of peanuts singing in perfect harmony. And, for some mysterious reason, it has a Spirit that penetrates all in its range.

 And that would be the “Spirit of Christmas.” Can’t really put it in words. Hard to describe. Creates Joy in your heart. And, brings you closer to your Lord, who is just about ready to be born in your heart … if there is any room in your inn.

 O’ VSCC Family Christmas Tree,

O’ VSCC Family Christmas Tree,

How brightly shines your Spirit.

 Happy Advent & Joyful Christmas

Pastor Bob <><

 


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NEVER LET GO OF “THE THREAD”

 

          One of my all-time favorite poems is William Stafford’s “The Way It Is.” I discovered this little gem in my life after I had made my commitment to follow Jesus. These words remind me that when I’m hanging by a thread, there’s only one thread I want to be clinging to – and that’s the hem of Jesus’s garment. And … by the way … and whether you know it or not … we’re always hanging by a thread!

           

Remember that great Gospel story about the woman who suffered for 12 years with bleeding. In Luke 8:43-48, after twelve years of suffering, this woman finds the gumption to make her way to Jesus, work her way through the crowd, desperately reach out her hand for something … anything … that might help her.

And her desperation and determination lead her to the hem of Jesus’s garment. The story tells us that as she touched the hem of His garment, Jesus felt power go out from Him, and the woman felt the power, instantly, go into her. Her healing began. She touched the thread of His garment, and her new life had begun.

 

I wonder what the thread that you’d never let go of would be. What is the one thing you cling to all the hours of your day – and all the days of your life? Is there one constant source of help you can count on every time? Who, or what, do you keep with you at all times, and never let go of?

Is your thread still of the world … or is it now of the Spirit? Have you yet surrendered your trust in yourself and your worldly things, and turned to God for your freedom?

It’s time to do that. This is Advent. A time of preparation, which gives all of us another chance to turn more of our life over to the One whose power is in that thread, on the hem, of His garment. Let Him be your thread. And no matter what happens … never let go of the thread.

 

“The Way It Is

 

There’s a thread you follow.                                                                 It goes among things that change.                                                          But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt

or die; and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

 

~ William Stafford ~”

 

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord!

And hold on to that thread!

Pastor Bob <><

 

 

 

 


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