|December 2004||Home Page|
As the Christmas season gets under way with the myriad of ads and promos trying to sell us billions of dollars worth of stuff we don't need, we also hear the warnings of how lives are stressed and stretched to the breaking point as folks fight to make deadlines and complete all their frantic shopping and preparations before the big day. There will be angry buyers screaming at others who get in their way; many store employees will not have a merry twinkle in their eyes as they attend to unhappy shoppers; and even our children will be growling in hopes of convincing some listening ear to get them that one perfect gift that they believe will satisfy them forever, or at least until the garbage trucks arrive to carry off the boxes and wrapping paper that will serve as a sign that another year full of burdens and pressure is about to begin.
By transforming a holy day into a glitzy, blinding, and dizzying free-for-all, we have all but silenced the joyful message of peace and love announced by God's faithful messengers centuries ago. There are those who will not even mention the name of Christ during the season. To them these hectic weeks are nothing more than a winter break from school and work or a buying circus meant to boost the economy. It is for parties, eating, drinking, and indulgence of every sort. In fact, for many individuals and in many ways it is not unlike Rome's pagan love feasts that celebrated "food for the belly and belly for food." The philosophy states that nothing should be held back, the wants and desires of the individual are to be met, and personal pleasure and gain is to guide the course of the season.
We shouldn't really be surprised by such attitudes and behavior in the world at large. Someone who has not yet walked with his hand in the tender hand of the Son of God is still far separated from the love of the Lord and unable to understand the true meaning of Christmas. He is the one who has eyes but cannot see and ears that are unable to hear.
However, there are those of us who have walked with the Master. We have heard His call, and we know the truth. If we get caught up in the unbridled madness of a stressful commercial season, then we are the ones guilty of despising the name and cause of Jesus Christ. We have tasted His goodness and experienced His grace. We are to be the light and the salt to those stumbling in darkness.
Bedford will have a Live Nativity on the front lawn of the church on Saturday, December 18, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
The children of Bedford will present a program entitled "Jingle Bells" on Sunday evening, December 19.
Bedford will have a Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service in its sanctuary at 7 p.m.
Hunting Creek will have a float in the Big Island Community Christmas Parade , Sunday, December 5, 3 p.m.
Hunting Creek's children and youth choirs will present the musical drama "Baby Jesus, We Love You" on Sunday, December 12, 7 p.m.
Mrs. Rebekah Overstreet,
1813 Oakwood St., Bedford 24523
Women on Mission: Beaverdam/Diamond Hill are leading devotionals at Oakwood Manor for October, November, and December; Radford will lead them for January, February, and March. Mentow will host the December birthday party for residents of Bedford County Nursing Home; Bethlehem will host it in January.
WMU Dues ($2.00 for each member of Women on Mission and leaders for age-level organizations) are past due. Please mail checks payable to Strawberry WMU to Mrs. Jeanette Southall, 2306 Old Farm Road, Lynchburg, VA 24503.
Sympathy is extended to Edith Vaughn-Parker on the death of her husband, Rev. John A. Parker, on November 7.
A friend of mine tells about his children who came home one Sunday excited about the annual church Christmas pageant. They were so excited that just as he sat down to watch the football game, in they came to demand his attention. He knew right away it was the pageant because the children brought in a flashlight wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a shoebox.
Six-year-old John appeared in his dad's bathrobe. Ten-year-old Jane had a dish towel on her head and said, "I'm Mary; he's Joseph." Four-year-old Margaret came in with pillow cases on both her arms which she flapped and said, "I'm the angel."
Finally, eight-year-old Sarah appeared. You could tell she was a wise man because she walked as if she were riding a camel. She was also wearing all the jewelry in the house, and on the dog's pillow she carried three items. She bowed to the flashlight, bowed to Mary, Bowed to Joseph, bowed to the angel, and finally bowed to her father. Then she announced, "I am all three wise men and I bring precious gifts of gold, circumstance, and mud."
That's about right. That's about the way it is. That's what the world is like. Gold, circumstance and mud! It pretty well describes the situation. Crushed by materialism which chokes the spirit and stifles the soul of humanity, combined with the circumstances of this moment in time in which the body is based, standing in the mud of plane crashes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, fire and flood, we come again to hear from God's word that there is more, much more to it than that.
The October birth dates included in this newsletter were inadvertently left out last month.
January 1 Norman & Virginia Gooding (Retired)
January 15 Rick Kallstrom (Pastor/Mount Hermon/1 yr.)
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