Christmas is officially here at ABC! I want to thank all of our amazing volunteers for putting in many hours to decorate and transform our church for the holiday season. The church looks absolutely beautiful, and I believe every person that walks through our doors this month will feel encouraged and welcomed because of the environment you helped create.
I think creating such an environment is especially important this year. Normally this time of year, our country is naturally rejoicing and celebrating as we approach Christmas day. However, I think we can all agree that this year is different. Many are discouraged by our present challenges and anxious regarding the future, and because of that, our country is lacking its regular Christmas cheer. And while all of those challenges are undeniable, so is our hope that we have in Jesus Christ. So be careful to not allow the enemy to rob you of the joy that God has already given us through His son.
The prophet Habukkuk knew a lot about cultural challenges. During his ministry, he was discouraged by Assyria’s heavy hand over Israel. And in the book of Habakkuk, he cried out for relief from the Lord. To his surprise, God answered that prayer by informing him that things were only going to get worse in the coming days. God told him that He was preparing to send the Babylonians to further discipline and pillage Israel. But after Habakkuk processed that devastating news, he came to an amazing conclusion. He said, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
This month, I encourage you to follow Habakkuk’s lead and remember to rejoice, regardless of our challenging circumstances. We will take joy in the God of our salvation this Christmas season at ABC. We will not allow the present darkness to make us forget that the Light has already come! I encourage you this month to rejoice and celebrate Christmas with your family, but also with your church family. We will celebrate safely to minimize risk, but we will indeed celebrate the Light because He is worthy of our praise.
The celebration at ABC will begin this Sunday December 6th. The vocal group, Veritas, will be joining us in worship this weekend to help lead us in our services (see below for one of their music videos). We’ll also provide some extra Christmas cheer for our children that morning, as they will enjoy a “Polar Express Sunday,” wearing their pajamas, drinking hot chocolate, and going on a train ride during BFG’s. Later that afternoon we will be hosting an amazing community event called, “Christmas Under the Stars.” To once again minimize risk, we are hosting this event outdoors with lots of space, and all the fun will begin at 4:30PM with a Christmas festival featuring train rides for the kids, a petting zoo, a snow slide, snowball fights, food trucks, and a live ice sculptor. At 6:30PM Veritas will provide a full Christmas concert outside with plenty of space for everyone to spread out in the field to enjoy it. Bring a lawn chair/blanket, and don’t worry, we will have some heaters on site! It will be a powerful time of worship, and a great witness to the world as they hear the name of Jesus Christ lifted up on our church grounds.
I hope you plan to join us, and even more than that, I hope you plan to invite someone to come with you. Many in our city need some joy right now, and this will be a great opportunity for ABC to shine brightly in a city navigating through darkness. If you have Facebook, take some time to share this promotional video online (CLICK HERE). Post it on your personal page and pass it on to any neighborhood pages that you may associate with. Make a few calls/texts this week to help share the gift of Christmas with others who need it. Rejoice in the Lord and take joy in the God of our salvation! I look forward to celebrating with you this Sunday.