Weekly Newsletter

December 15, 2017

 

Happy Advent Season!

We look forward to December.  For so many, this time of year makes us think of happy children, decorations, special foods and treats, time off of school or work, special gatherings of family and friends, and lots of presents under a happily decorated tree.  These are all very, VERY, VERY good things to look forward to!  We are VERY blessed people!   

A couple of men who met with me in my office earlier today were refreshing reminders of how fortunate we are.   Their Families, back home in their native countries are not worried about having their electric turned off.  They don’t have any to turn off.  They’re grateful that they usually get one small evening meal a day, mostly rice and beans, with occasional chicken or goat.  It’s the many times that there are no meals that they get worried.  These men work low wage jobs in our country and yet they find a way to send a large portion of what they earn to family members back home.  And this time of year all of their relatives try to contact them to see if they can send any small additional Christmas blessing their way, because back home, everyone knows these men are RICH MEN in a rich country!

Their story is a familiar one, but gave me cause to ponder….    What would it be like if we traded places?      

Hmmm…  What if jobs were a rare commodity in Ohio?  What if no one reading this letter had one?  What if we had no cars, no comfortable homes with furnaces, air conditioners, couches, chairs, tables; no electric or indoor plumbing with flush toilets, showers, and sinks?  What if we had no way to get to a doctor if one of our loved ones was sick, even dying?  This is a rather appalling thought, isn’t it?  But now, add a wrinkle to this difficult scenario…..    It’s Christmas.

How would we celebrate with our children if we had nothing, and no resource to go out and purchase things?   What if we could prepare no special foods?   How would we celebrate without gifts?   What would that look like? And what would we look forward to if the world looked cold and dark and we anticipated little comfort in this world?     Would we look at life differently?  Would we celebrate at all?   

Advent is not another word for what we have come to know as Christmas in America.  Advent is the celebration of the true light coming into a sin darkened world.  Sin darkness is far darker than just a moonless night or even the blackest unlit cavern.  It is a darkness of the heart that is both hopeless and loveless; a darkness where goodness is unwanted, and life is not valued, a place where hatred breeds and cruelty thrives.  There were four thousand years between Adam and Christ in which darkness reigned unchallenged, with the single exception of a small group of people who experienced God’s favor and presence.    

But now, because of Advent, because of Jesus’s obedience to his father’s love - there is LIGHT!   That light brings us HOPE!  The reason you and I have so many of the blessings we have is because of the powerful inbreaking of light through the good news of Jesus into our country and into our culture.  Many imagine that our blessings are because we’re a little smarter, hard-working, harder fighting, or just luckier.  This arrogant attitude is sad and insulting, and proves that we have grown blind to the reality that there is only one living source of true light, true love, joy, and peace: Jesus Christ.  

In Advent, we celebrate good news coming into this world!  A LOVE that gives life and light to all people everywhere, male or female, rich or poor, black, brown or white.  A light that brings hope.  It is God’s LOVE that defines us, giving us a HOPE that shapes us.  These are our greatest treasure!  A person living in HOPE cannot remain angry or cynical, cannot remain unforgiving, and cannot remain controlling or manipulative.  A person with hope offers hope to others, regardless of their own life situation.  What we hope for shapes us because it looks beyond our current circumstance and into the greatest love the world has ever known, shaping us to become like what we hope for!   That is the light we celebrate in Advent.

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the power to become children of God, …born not of blood, nor the flesh, nor the will of man, but born of GOD!  

This Advent, may you enjoy your many blessings, giving thanks to God who has loved you and given you this hope!

Mike

 

 

VCPC this Week

Saturday, December 16th – VCPC Serve DNA Community Meal – we will start cooking at 3…

Saturday, December 16th – Youth Open-Gym after DNA Community Meal 7:30-10:30

Sunday, December 17th – Intercessory Prayer – 9 am – Church Library

Thursday, December 21st – Intercessory Prayer – 11 am – Church Library – Request? Email prayerline@vineyardplaincity.com or call/text (614) 499-1232

Thursday, December 21st – VCPC Christmas Party @ Mike and Linda’s 6:30/7 - 8:30/9...

Looking Ahead…

Sunday, December 24th – Christmas Eve Service during Sunday Morning Worship 10:30 am

Wednesday, December 27th – Serve Lunch to the senior citizens at Pleasant Valley Senior Community meet @9:30 am

Sunday, December 31st – New Year’s Eve Evening of Worship 9pm-2018! @ VCPC

 

*Also please continue to be in prayer about what God would have you do to support Sierra Leone. Any gifts can be put in the offering boxes with checks made to Vineyard Plain City and Sierra Leone on the memo line