1st Sunday of Christmas | December 23, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I hope you were able to join us for the 4th Sunday of Advent worship. We dived into our final mood of Christmas, Christmas Ambiguity. Our Advent worship was filled with inspiring prayers and beautiful music. If you missed it, you can watch here.
If you are reading this on the day it was sent, then Christmas Eve will be tomorrow. I simply cannot believe it is here. You can gather your family at any time through the day and tune into one of our four Christmas Eve broadcasts. Please click here for information on each service, and join online here. Be sure to have candles for the entire family and elements for Holy Communion. I imagine it will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in your home. My sermon for the evening is titled Christmas Mess … Christmas Magic. We’ve been collecting our traditional Christmas Eve offering all through the Advent season. Please click here to watch the video about the ministries that will benefit from our Christmas Eve offering, and make your gift by clicking here.
Nearly 2300 people experienced Drive-Thru Bethlehem on December 5 and 20. Thank you … thank you … for the many volunteers giving of themselves so deeply to make this unique experience happen. Click here for a short film on these two magical nights.
My Wednesday Devotional
My December 23 devotional titled It All Depends on What You’re Listening For. Click here to watch.
A Christmas Meditation
Darlene and John Prestbo have been a part of our church for several years now. They are two of the most imaginative, creative, spirit-filled people I know. The art, the poetry, and so much more that God lays on their hearts is deeply inspirational.
I know you’ll enjoy this Christmas reflection Darlene shares with us.
As trouble rumbled in Jerusalem
And hunger stalked each well-trod path,
Crowds wandered far across the countryside
All seeking peace, escape from wrath.
On cloudless nights a star gleamed diamond bright,
A beacon for the stumbling souls.
Its shimmered glow above a battered shed
Gave comfort to both calf and foals.
A man and wife took grateful shelter there
And soon brought forth a cherished Son.
For us was born the precious Prince of Peace.
We need you now til Kingdom come.
End-of-Year Giving 2020
As the year 2020 draws to a close, most of us are glad. It has been a tough one. For all of us. In my 42 years of serving in the church, I’ve never faced anything as challenging as COVID-19 – not hurricanes, not slumps in the economy, nothing. But I’m so proud of our church. In the midst of such a trying time, we have continued to help people and serve Jesus across our community. It is who we are as a church. We are a church FOR the community … for the world.
And now we are facing financial challenges as we approach the end of the year. It looks like our giving could be short of budget about $150,000.00 for 2020. Friends, that’s real money. Thankfully we’ve always been prudent with our budgeting process, and from the moment COVID-19 struck our staff community, Key Leaders and Finance Team led the way. We have been able to maximize ministry while controlling all discretionary spending.
We need your help to end the year on a positive note financially, as we strive to continue to provide hope for our community. As you can imagine, some people have lost income during this crisis and they cannot give as they had planned. But if you’ve enjoyed a good year financially and can give above your ordinary giving level, we would appreciate the extra support. Honestly, your church needs help at this time. To learn more about year-end giving and to make your gift, please click here.
I want to thank you for remaining steadfast during this difficult year and continuing to share the love of Jesus.
This Sunday (December 27) in Worship
This week our CCH community will gather for worship at 12:30 pm and conclude their Christmas worship series, The Most Anticipated Return. Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Galatians 4:4-7 with his message, Children with Inheritance.
In our morning services at 9:30 am and 11:00 am, please gather with your family, light a candle and sing some Christmas carols with us on the 1st Sunday of Christmas. My sermon is titled New Year Life Is What You Make of It from Philippians 2:1-5.
Max Lucado says Christmas is the time when we learn that God is “strong enough to trust and close enough to touch.” May this assurance be most evident for you and yours this Christmas.
From Karen, Grandpa, Chuck, Chase, MacKenzie, Ryan, Gina, Rosa, Lua, Molly, Ben, Lola, Lenny and the dogs – Boulder, Rosie, Lolo and Cooper — we say to you, “May the joy of God’s holy love be with each of you and with all people everywhere. Merry Christmas!”
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain, tumultuous and perilous days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
With great Christmas joy, I am your pastor and friend,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that we have a new “Quick Connect Guide” for our Adult Ministries? Take the Next Steps to Build Your Foundation in Christ! Find your place for deeper connection at www.matthewsumc.org/reach/adult/.
Did you know that Kaylyn McClendon (daughter of John and Tricia) will be traveling to South Africa with Experience Missions from January 4 to March 25? She has felt this nudging on her heart to serve since October 2019 while listening to Big John from Uganda. Big John is one of the persons we provide missionary support for in Uganda. Let’s hold Kaylyn and her family so very close in our thoughts and prayers. If you’d like to keep up with her blog while she travels, click here.
Did you know that Global Impact collected a carload of food for Common Heart Food Pantry and a carload of warm clothing and supplies for Roof Above during the two Drive-Thru Bethlehem events? Thank you for your generosity with these gifts plus over $3300 in cash donations!