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Pastor John’s View for December 2019

December 2019 Tales from the Mountain

Sunday afternoon we had our regular video chat with our daughter, Jeannette, and Christmas_018family in Fairbanks, AK. Jeannette gave us an early Christmas present informing us they are coming for Christmas this year! YAY! But, then, Valerie and I started to panic; it’s Christmas, it’s going to be crazy busy getting ready for the season here at Lakeview and at Spirit Song, it’s the end of the year and we have reports due, new leaders to line up for next year, Christmas parties, special worship services, and my Rotary club is busy too with Salvation Army bell ringing and some special service projects. Pastor Linda is home healing and it is simply a busy season….but then, it always is.

I remember one year when, weary from being pulled from both in-laws, we decided we’d have Christmas at our house and extended family was invited later in the day. It was wonderful as we read the Christmas story in the morning and spent time with Jesus before the rush of unwrapping happened. For the first time, we felt that we were able to really focus on Jesus’ birth rather than rushing to and fro.

I’m appreciating one aspect of maturity, not feeling the pressure of needing a lot of “stuff” for Christmas but rather taking time for being present for God to work, to listen for the Holy Spirit and to give thanks to Jesus for all he’s done for me. So, with the pending rush and disruption of an 8-year-old and the 3-year-old, I’m taking on a special spiritual practice this year and inviting you along for the journey.

For some, this will be a difficult time of year, perhaps that first holiday season without that special loved one present. For some, the holidays are reminders of the pain of a difficult childhood or trauma early in life. Some dread the season because of demands made on them or because they are more introverted, and the season is often uncomfortably jammed with too many people. For some, it is a joyous season full of laughter, gifts, and friends. Wherever you are, I want to invite you to join with me in a spiritual discipline this season. I think this will help you individually focus on the reason for the season and build a foundation to resist the secularism from replacing Jesus as the centerpiece. I believe it will help us, as a church, to be working on a discipline of reading and prayer together, strengthening us as a body. Where appropriate, I encourage you to take this on as a family, couple, or a small group if you happen to live in one of our beautiful retirement centers here in Sun City. Just gather a few people and share in this experience.

Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Beginning December 1st read one chapter of Luke each day leading up to Christmas Eve. This will carry you through the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of our Lord as one continuous story.
  2. Spend a few minutes each day in quiet prayer, not asking God for anything but rather, listening for his response to the scripture that day.
  3. Share a few thoughts with us as you go through the month how God is surprising you, blessing you, or how you are responding in faith. Just drop me an email or a handwritten note via the office.

Christmas_012Let’s not allow business, distraction, the challenges of life this year, or other ‘things’ stop us from seeing how God is working today through this ancient account of Jesus’ life. Will you commit to joining me in this journey through Luke?

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