A Christmas morning gift

A Christmas morning gift

If you are familiar with the Five Love Languages, you know that one of them is “gift-giving.” My mom has that gift. She LOVES to think about and shop for the people in her life. I don’t have that gift. I DON’T like to think about gifts and shop for them. The fact that Amazon delivered to my door a unique and unexpected gift which I will present to Cyndi…and that it arrived in time to be wrapped and placed under our tree (although, to date, neither of those things has occurred), speaks volumes about the depth of love I bear for my wife. My desire to bless her is even greater than my contempt for shopping…or thinking about shopping.

But I certainly recognize a thoughtful gift when I see one. And your Session (the elders of our church) have presented a very thoughtful Christmas gift to our staff: Christmas morning. At home. With their family. As you are likely aware, Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. Twelve hours earlier, we will have concluded our fourth of four Christmas Eve services. The night before that, our Christmas Eve Eve service. This is our annual, delightful, exhilarating, inspiring Christmas marathon. Every year, thousands come through our doors. Every year, some give their life to Christ for the first time. This year will be no different. Christmas Eve is our Super Bowl…and we pour ourselves into it, gladly. 

But afterward, we’re pretty pooped! Or should I say, well spent. And since we have the ability to offer high-quality online services, the Session said, “We’d like our staff to spend Christmas morning at home. With their families. Let’s put the Christmas day service online.” 

For the 28 people (minimum) that it takes to open our doors for a morning service, this is an incredible and kind gift of Sabbath rest! Three years ago, pre-COVID, it would not have been possible. Now, it is not only possible, but it will also be exquisite. We found a gorgeous venue in which to film this service. The music will be memorable and the sermon, inspiring. 

This is a wonderful gift to our staff, especially those with children. Thank you, Session! And I know it will bless you. Here’s the link to our YouTube channel that will take you to that worship service when it premieres at 9:00 am tomorrow. After the premiere it will remain on our YouTube channel so you can watch and worship whenever you like! I hope you’ll gather your family for a little home church that morning…and you’ll get to do it in your jammies! And please consider sharing it with others!

And turning to another important topic: December is always a critical giving month for us. This year, it is particularly so as we are trying to make up a projected $500,000 shortfall. Your response in November was incredible and generous. Thank you! But we have a long way to go and your generous year-end gift, large or small, really matters. Here is the link for making your year-end gift.

And don’t forget, we WILL be gathering to worship on New Year’s Day, one service only at 10:00 am. It will be our annual renewal of baptismal vows…and I might even have a very special surprise for you! Let’s start 2023 together!

I love you, my Sweetheart Church. Thank you for a great 2022! Let’s end it strong! Merry, Merry Christmas.

Pastor Mark