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The Spirit of Giving at Christmas December 1st, 2020

I wish you and yours the Merriest of Christmases in this year of uncertainty, chaos and tumult. With all that has transpired this year and many experiencing losses in their families, we turn now to the season of joy. Some of us have lost friends or loved ones in death, others have lost jobs, many have had to distance from family. We could go on and on about the difficulties and discouragements we all at some levels have experienced in this year.

That is why, my wife and I have chosen to be joyful in this Christmas season. We put our Christmas decorations up early, started baking Christmas cookies in late November, getting our Christmas cards ready to go out and enjoying Christmas movies and music. I have heard that many people are decorating early and buying more live Christmas trees than in the recent past because people are looking for a positive and bright spirit to finish off 2020.

I want to share a short story that was given to me years ago. At this time a year, as a Pastor, I like to look through my sermon binders of Christmas sermons and illustrations to find just the right fit for the Christmas season. This illustration always warms my heart and expresses well the meaning of Christmas to me.

“The day was frightfully cold, with swirls of snow in the air. Workmen had just finished constructing the annual nativity scene in the churchyard outside of St. Mary’s Church when the school across the street let out for the day. Children gathered excitedly around the outdoor manger scene, but they didn’t stay long; it was far too cold for lingering. All of the children hurried away, except for a tiny girl of about six. The wind lashed at her bare legs causing her coat to fly open in the front, but she was oblivious to the weather. All of the tiny girl’s attention was riveted on the statues before her: Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus, the animals. Suddenly she removed her blue woolen scarf. The wind quickly knotted her hair into a wild tangle, but she didn’t seem to notice. She had only one thought. Lovingly, she wrapped her scarf around the statue of Baby Jesus. After she had covered it, she patted the Baby and then kissed it on the cheek. Satisfied, she skipped on down the street, her hair frosted with tiny diamonds of ice. Christmas had come once again, for Christmas is more than a date on the calendar, Christmas is a state of the heart.”

That little story reminds me that Christmas is about God giving the very best He had in all of heaven, His one and only Son. Jesus left the very throne room of heaven, descended to earth, wrapped Himself in human flesh and limited Himself to be a man just like you and me. He experienced all the things human beings do, even temptation, and yet He never sinned. He came to teach, heal, forgive, train disciples, point people to God’s kingdom; but the most important thing Jesus did was to die on the cross to shed His blood to take away our sin and give us the gift of eternal life

I hear many, many people in our world say they cannot wait for 2021 to come, to turn the calendar on a new year and things will get better. There is no guarantee of that especially with this Corona Virus moving through our population. The hope we have as believers is not a new, blank calendar and a hope so for a new year but in the Jesus of Christmas who came once and will come again to receive His own to Himself. What a day that will be and heaven will be like Christmas every day!!

May you and your family have the merriest of Christmases. Make it special this year by celebrating old traditions in different ways or creating new ones. Join us at PVBC for the special Christmas we are sharing each and every week leading up to our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 5 pm – December 24th.

I hope you have a spectacular Christ Centered Christmas and a Spiritually Prosperous New Year. I am faithfully,

                                                  Yours and His, Pastor Ed Hedding