Embracing the Spirit of Christmas
Embracing the Spirit of Christmas By Rev. Gary Lewis Senior Pastor The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. Yet, today, when we think about Christmas we consider commercialism instead of Christology, inflation instead of incarnation, and stress instead of the Spirit. When it is all over, many of us have presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas? Can Christmas 2022 become more like the first Christmas, when the world was changed forever? The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. Yet, today, when we think about Christmas we consider commercialism instead of Christology, inflation instead of incarnation, and stress instead of the Spirit. When it is all over, many of us are busy returning presents, dealing with looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas 2022 became more like the first Christmas. A time when the world changed forever? Welcome to Embracing the Spirit of Christmas. Every time we light a candle on Advent wreath, we have the opportunity to embrace the real reason for the season. Beginning on Dec. 4, each Sunday’s service will end with a challenge that you can do at home to embrace the spirit of Christmas in your life. Dec. 4: CONSIDER MESSINESS A GIFT. We will be celebrating the first Sunday worship service as Bristol Community Church – our new name and our new identity. It has been a messy season for our church leaders, as we have had to make this historic decision. How do you get through the messiness of the Christmas season? CHOOSE FAITH OVER DOUBTS It starts with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. Instead of being overwhelmed by the messiness, this is a time to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. Christmas is a season when love wins. Christmas is a season when we realize God is not finished yet. Christmas reminds us to accept life is a journey and that we need to trust God every step of the way. Dec.11: RECEIVE THE GIFT. Many stores have various gift exchange programs – some our easy, some our generous and others are stingy – but did you know that God has an incredible gift exchange program? We bring God our worst and God gives us things we have always wanted to be part of our lives. We get to exchange worry for the gift of peace and exchange grief for the gift of joy. BUY ONE LESS GIFT We are asking people to consider buying one less gift this Christmas. Just one. Sounds insignificant, but this first step can make a real difference. We buy one less gift because we know mindless consumption is not the way to celebrate our Savior. By spending a little less, we are able to joyfully give to others in need. Consider a gift to the Bristol Community Food Pantry. Write a check and mail it to P.O. Box 757, Bristol, IN, 46507. DEC.18: CHOOSE JOY. Have you ever been trying to find your way in a new place and came across one of those maps with the “You Are Here” arrow? If the “You Are Here” arrow in your life points to maybe a painful, routine, boring, difficult, life and there is a dot over there that says “Joy,” the question is how do I get from here to there? We have to concentrate on that which only God can do, the joy that God can bring. GIVE MORE TIME TO PEOPLE YOU LOVE God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. Therefore, it is no wonder why we are drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift that Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it cannot be found completing one more task on our list. DEC. 25: CHOSEN TO SERVE GOD. When it comes to serving God, some people think they simply cannot qualify to do so. “God can never use me,” you say, because I am too old, too young, have health issues and I am too busy. If you believe God cannot use you, you are wrong. Absolutely and positively wrong. BE A BLESSING TO SOMEONE IN NEED When Jesus loved, he loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas, we have the opportunity to join him in giving resources to those who need help the most. Consider a gift to the church’s Needy Family Fund. Write the check to Bristol Community Church, or you can give online at our website, www.bristolcc.org, and indicate it is for needy families.