December 10, 2018

Good Monday Morning!! I know I’m kind of slow sometimes but I think I figured out why Christmas can be so stressful. I used to think it was possible to slow down and relax during this time of year. Then I realized uhhh no, you still have to do everything you were doing before and now you have to shop for presents and go to parties and decorate and if you can, work some overtime to pay for everything. It’s no wonder most of us miss the true spirit of Christmas. When we were kids it was easier because the reality I mentioned above was true. You got out of school and you got to sit around and just dream about snow and what you were going to get for Christmas. It was a magical time and the biggest stress was just waiting until Christmas morning. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to go back to being a kid again? I often used to dream of those days and how excited I would get. I didn’t realize then the financial burden my parents put on themselves to make sure I had a great Christmas. I didn’t realize all the work they went through until I had kids of my own. And having children and seeing them experience Christmas was as magical for me as my own childhood. It was like living that through them all over again. I know now why my parents loved coming over on Christmas morning when my children were small. It was an opportunity for them to re-live that magic for a third time through their grandkids. Those looks of sheer joy and excitement can hardly be repeated at any other time during the year. My hope for you and me is that this year we will make it our goal to recapture that magic and excitement as we think about that very first Christmas. It is a story that is repeated every year and yet it should never lose its magic and power and excitement in our lives. You may not be able to take multiple days off and just sit around and dream about Christmas. But I hope you will stop, even today, and let the joy and love and hope of Christmas fill your life today. Never lose the Magic of Christmas!!
This month we are praying for and giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. I want to share with you today a little about Lottie Moon’s story and may it be an inspiration to us:
Edmonia Moon, Lottie’s sister, was appointed to Tengchow, China, in 1872. The following year, Lottie was appointed and joined her sister there. She taught in a girls’ school and often made trips into China’s interior to share the good news with women and girls.
Lottie Moon was passionate about people knowing Christ. She didn’t hesitate to speak her mind.
When she set sail for China, Lottie was 32 years old. She had turned down a marriage proposal and left her job, home and family to follow God’s lead. Her path wasn’t typical for an educated woman from a wealthy Southern family. God had gripped her with the Chinese peoples’ need for a Savior.
For 39 years Lottie labored, chiefly in Tengchow and P’ingtu. People feared and rejected her, but she refused to leave. The aroma of fresh-baked cookies drew people to her house. She adopted traditional Chinese dress, and she learned China’s language and customs. Lottie didn’t just serve the people of China; she identified with them. Many eventually accepted her. And some accepted her Savior.
When I read her story I am reminded of how little we sacrifice for the gospel. In fact, many of us don’t really sacrifice much at all for a Savior who sacrificed everything for us. Shame on us. Shame on me. We can do more. We must do more!!
This coming Sunday, December 16th, is going to be a Sunday you won’t want to miss. We start with a Joint Worship Service that will include a joining together of our Anglo and Hispanic Music Ministries in Worship. It will also include my sermon which will be translated into Spanish. As I mentioned Sunday this makes me a little nervous but I know you will be in prayer and worst case you can come and watch me struggle. Ha. But it will be a time of great worship and our focus will be on Jesus and Him glorified so I am sure it will be amazing!! We will follow this with a pot-luck lunch together. Now I know many of you are like me and you are looking forward most to the real tamales and enchiladas but don’t forget that you need to bring something as well. But don’t bring dessert! It hurts my heart to say that but save your sweet tooth for the Pastor’s Open House from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. There will be plenty of snacks and desserts and drinks so come hang out and let us wish you a very Merry Christmas!! It is only Monday but I am already excited about Sunday and I hope you are as well. Invite someone to join you this week!!
Final Word: I want to wish my grandson, Eli James Hixon, a very Happy Birthday! This Wednesday he turns THREE and he is a blessing to all of us.
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?