What A Wonderful Child
It’s a sweet time of year at Bethel Church. I was the first to arrive on Sunday morning. It was just after dawn. I stepped into the quiet auditorium. A wreath was glowing on the brick wall east of the pulpit. A Christas tree stood on the west side. I plugged in the lights and sat for a while in silent prayer. Soon the people would come and bring the place to life. I prayed for the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit among us. Later Sunday morning we launched a new series: What A Wonderful Child; Five Names of Jesus. Sunday’s message was on the name Emmanuel; God with Us. How wonderful it is to know that if we know the Lord we are never alone. Because Jesus came, God is with us.
God is with us when we are threatened, oppressed, mistreated.
—God is with us when we are troubled/anxious/worried/depressed
—God is with us when we are tempted
—God is with us when we feel alone or abandoned or misunderstood or unappreciated
—God is with us when when we are sad or discouraged or depressed
—God is with us when we are unsure of the future
—God is with us when we are under-resourced… poor… needy… pressured oppressed
—God is with us when we are bored—empty—have a weak sense of purpose…
—God is with us when we are unaware of his presence…
It’s that time of the year. Don’t forget. Because Jesus Came, God is with us.
Here is the whole message on video:
Thanksgiving Weekend Out on Bittersweet
A thin snow covers the ground out on Bittersweet this morning, but it won’t last. The spirit of Thanksgiving lingers. Holly, Aiden, and Bella left to return to Oregon. (Holly’s Jesse had business in the middle-east). Wes, Dylan, and Haley arrived from Texas the next day. We had Thanksgiving at Kyle and Elizabeth’s in Grand Rapids. It was a happy day. Elizabeth and the ladies prepared an abundance of food. Kyle kept a fire blazing on the hearth all day. I looked long into the fire. The chatter and antics of the grandchildren tumbling around filled my heart with warmth and joy. God has given me a deeply grateful heart. I see no reason not to extend the season of thanks all the way to Christmas Eve. Can I recommend Thanksgiving to you? It is good for our souls. So good. Thanksgiving never really has to end, does it? Let it linger.
This month you will be receiving Christmas greetings from friends and family, Christmas wishes and Christmas blessings. Let me give you one now to think about until those beautiful cards begin to arrive: I wish for you a quiet, peaceful, thoughtful December. I’m praying I can lead the people of Bethel into a deep thoughtfulness this year. I want to practice that myself. A quiet heart. Contentment with what I have and where God has placed me and what God has led me to do. Rest in the righteousness of Christ which is mine by grace through faith.
I’m a child of God. I’m a follower of Jesus. I’m a husband. I’m a dad. I’m a grandfather. I’m a simple Village Parson and that is a lot and that is enough.
December 2, 2019