Unwrapping Christmas Traditions!

Hello All,

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord!  THIS IS CHRISTmas, Jesus Christ our Lord! 

As we’ve been “Unwrapping CHRISTmas” this month and reminding ourselves that Jesus is the meaning of Christmas, I can’t help but acknowledge that also Christmas traditions, especially those you’ve lived within your own family are part of Christmas as well.

For many this time of year is again a season of joy and celebration to be shared with family.  At the same time, this time of year can be very lonely for many whose Christmas memories aren’t so joyous or current life circumstances just don’t fit with the whole “celebration” theme.    

As the verse above states, CHRISTmas is about CHRIST the Lord, born to each of us……yes, YOU! 
I pray you are blessed, each of you with the love of God in Jesus and the Holy Spirit this Christmas!  Whether you realize it or not, we truly are blessed to have a Savior in the world! Whether we are with family or alone, Jesus IS there with us and in reality, we are never alone! 

What a testimony of Christmas as well in that the Eales are hosting a Christmas meal (Bring and Share/Potluck) on Christmas day for ALL that would like to join. Regardless if you are single or a family wishing to celebrate with others, you are welcome!   You have “family” at LIFT, even if you didn’t grow up in the same home together!  Remember the special Christmas Eve service at 5:00 pm at the Kirchgemeindehaus as well.  
So, about those family traditions……  Something Tanya and I brought into our Best family Christmas many years ago was simply including the reading of Luke’s version of the “first Christmas” each Christmas Eve with our children and family or friends or who may be with us.  Yes, we too enjoy the warm decorations, candles, baked cookies and having a Christmas tree in our living room, but we do make it intentional to include that Jesus is what Christmas is truly about, a real celebration and gift of life from God to us!    

Below is this Luke 2 passage of the first Christmas!

In His grip and grace,

Corey

Luke 2
2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Unwrapping Christmas-Part 2

Unwrapping Christmas-Part 2
 
Hello All,
 
In continuation of the Unwrapping Christmas theme, I again am blessed to share another true “glimpse” of God regarding the statement from part 1.  The statement was “Even in the world, if one looks hard enough, despite the X-Mas clutter and noise, Jesus IS still there, and showing His loving gift of grace in beautiful ways.”
 
As political correctness is more and more eroding the true meaning of Christmas and in the name of tolerance of not wanting to offend anothers beliefs, wishing one Merry Christmas is being replaced with Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays.  I was so blessed that in spite of this mentality that is currently moving across the world, last Friday night I saw my true Christmas glimpse in a moment of real worship in an unexpected place.  My daughter Livia’s 4th grade class (together with another 3rd grade class) had their drama/musical presentation for parents and our little community in and near Menzingen.  These 30 or so students (a couple of them foreign and even Muslim) dressed the part and sang praises while acting out the Nativity story of Christ’s birth.  True to Matthew and Luke, they dramatized how the angels came to speak to Mary and then Joseph, how the census was announced and that they had to go to their hometown of Bethlehem, and due to no room in the inn the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger!  O.k., so a few traditional Christmas Nativity aspects were added like the 3 Wise Men there about two years too early, but still, I was encouraged to see that there are still glimpses of true Christmas to be found all around us, even in our busy world of X-Mas Holidays! 
 
I pray that you too, are blessed with moments of worship in true celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this CHRISTmas season!   
 
We look forward to celebrating Christmas together at LIFT this Sunday morning at 10 am and don’t forget the special Christmas Eve Service that will be from 5:00 to 6:00 pm! 
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey

Unwrapping CHRISTMAS

Hello All,
 
Unwrapping Christmas.  This is the theme of LIFT the next two weeks.   Why should we unwrap Christmas?  As most of the world celebrates “X-Mas” in one way or another, the real meaning, the real gift of CHRIST-MAS has been wrapped up and seemingly hidden in the clutter of X-Mas trees, X-Mas music, X-Mas gifts, X-Mas dinners, X-Mas candies and X-Mas working hours where all the shops are working overtime to get us in the spend our X-Mas money!  The true gift of God celebrated at CHRIST-MAS is the CHRIST!  Jesus Christ!  We will take some time as a church to unwrap the clutter, ribbon and box and celebrate Christmas together as we let His gift shine!
 
And even in the world, if one looks hard enough, despite the X-Mas clutter and noise, Jesus IS still there, and showing His loving gift of grace in beautiful ways.  I experienced a bit of true Christmas last week at my company’s X-Mas party.  O.k., on one hand it was a very splendid event at an incredible 200 year old estate house on the lake of Zurich with a 5 or 6 course meal with place settings of way too many forks and spoons causing me to have to think before eating each course, just to be sure I followed proper “etiquette”.  On the other hand, spouses weren’t included so I missed my Tanya who was home with the kids, so celebrating at this X-Mas party just wasn’t so celebrative for me.  And then it happened……… an angelic, raspy Gospel voice began to sing, and not just sing, but to truly S-I-N-G from the heart, to “Go Tell It On The Mountain That Jesus Christ Is Born!”  The entertainment booked for the evening was a woman and a man with a keyboard and two microphones and they began to lead me in worship, sitting right there at my company’s X-Mas party. 
 
During a break in their set, I walked across the room* to confirm what I already knew.  This lady wasn’t just singing words, she was singing praise from her heart.  (I know this because I asked her.)  After overhearing her talk with others, I said to her, “From the sound of your accent, I can tell we have something in common”!  She was also American and came to life hearing my English too!  Then my question, “Are you just singing words about the King, or do you know this King Jesus?”  She smiled big and said, “With all my heart, I know my Lord Jesus and it’s not just singing! My voice is a gift from God and I use this voice for Him!” 
 
So, may we all look beyond the sights and sounds of X-Mas around us and be blessed to see the true glimpses of CHRIST-Mas that are present around us, and that not just in December! 
 
We look forward to sharing Christmas together at LIFT these next two Sundays.  Don’t forget the special Christmas Eve Service that will be from 5:00 to 6:00 pm on the 24th. 
 
In His grip and grace,
 
Corey
 
* P.S. -* As FYI, after the New Year, the ladies will begin another book study called, Just Walk Across The Room, by Bill Hybels.  More info to come in January!

JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

Hello All,

“Sie” oder “Du”? As a native English speaker who does speak some German, it’s been quite the year on remembering who has given me the “Du” or not.  Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.  At the workplace, my company’s official language is English, but there are still many discussions in German.  Some of my colleagues and I are in the “Du” and some still in the “Sie”  What’s crazy for me is that in English, everyone is “You” (but one may still be Mr. or Mrs. terms and not with the first name), but in German I have to remember who is who and who is “Du”.  The worst is when there are many in the same conversation and some are “Sie” and some are “Du” and it’s not polite to mix them up.

O.K. O.K, so what’s the point?   When Jesus was born, God got personal with each of us in a very close way.  Jesus, in some ways was God offering the “Du” to each of us personally, once and for all.  We can know His name too, Immanuel, God with us!  We can talk to Him as our best friend and walk with Him in throughout our lives!

Matthew 1:18-25
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”-which means, “God with us.”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
NIV

Have a wonderful Christmas!

In His grip and grace,

Corey and Tanya

JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

Hello All,

THIS SUNDAY- CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION SERVICE!

As we have announced that LIFT will NOT hold Christmas Day or New Years Day services, we invite you this Sunday (Dec. 18th, 2005- 6:30pm) for our LIFT Christmas Celebration Service.  We will worship our Lord in singing a few Christmas carols and the message of course will be the wonderful good news of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! Children are welcome to stay throughout the service as they too will be blessed to hear how the Bible (and not the Santa Claus marketing of today) really tells the true story of Christmas (in an entertaining way)!

When we begin our JAMES study again on January 8th, we will pick up right where we left off in chapter 1.  I hope some of you may have taken me up on my challenge to read James each week on your own (It’s less than 15-20 minutes of reading) and will keep reading it over the Christmas weeks.  It was nice to read an e-mail recently of one who IS reading James alongside us and IS being blessed with these treasures of God’s Word!

Regarding James, I have a quick personal word of encouragement of how the Word of God in the first few verses “touched” me, even this morning.  Tanya and I had a bit of frustration yesterday evening with a circumstance that was somewhat out of our control.  As I left the house this morning, Tanya was already on the phone attempting to deal with these matters.  As I drove out the garage, a song was playing from one of my CD’s that was divinely encouraging.  Before arriving to work 30 minutes later, the circumstance was already resolved with a positive outcome and the words of this song were still ringing in my soul.  I hope you are encouraged with these words as well!

SACRIFICE OF PRAISE

I will sing even when there is no song

I will trust even when it all seems wrong

You are faithful, You are faithful

You have shown me many times in many ways

It’s a sacrifice of praise

Hallelujah, hallelujah

Hallelujah

It’s a sacrifice of praise

I will hope even when my faith is weak

I will laugh, Lord You’ve made my joy complete

You are faithful, You are faithful

You have shown me many times in many ways

It’s a sacrifice of praise

Have a wonderful week and looking forward to celebrating Jesus’ birth this Sunday night with you at LIFT!

In His grip and grace,

Corey (and Tanya)