Jesus is born!

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."   Luke 2:7

Later today, I hope to spend some time wrapping gifts. That's one of my favorite pre-Christmas tasks - when I have time to not only to conceal the gift in pretty paper, but also add some creative touch at the top, it makes giving that gift even more joyful.

But, of course, the Gift we celebrate at Christmas didn't come in beautiful, glossy paper. Luke tells us that Jesus was wrapped in the simplest of all garments - the plain strips of cloth, the "swaddling clothes," that every peasant family used. Yet in that humble, simple, clothing, the power of God's love is revealed, for God came in Jesus to be one of us, sharing our humanness, knowing our need.

We'll have rich opportunities to celebrate the Gift of Christ this weekend. As you know, Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, and so we'll have two Sunday morning services, at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m., followed by our traditional Christmas Eve services at 4:00, 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00 p.m.  Each service will feature beautiful Christmas music and carols, scripture accounts of the birth of Jesus, and a Christmas reflection from one of our ministry staff. The evening services will include a candlelight carol-sing. And Holy Communion, that celebration of Christ giving himself to us, will be shared at the 7:00 p.m. service and in the Chapel from 10:15-10:45.

And, as always, you as a church have certainly not been waiting until Christmas Eve to honor Christ. From the lively and warm and beautiful Chapel Choir Concert last Sunday afternoon; to meaningful Bible study discussions in mid-week, and a great time of church fellowship at the Wednesday evening "Home Cookin'" meal; to the quiet giving of new warm blankets for our PADS homeless shelter clients throughout the week, you have taken to heart the good news that God is with us - Jesus is born!

May your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day be filled with that Good News.

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