Merry Christmas! What a joy it is to celebrate Christmas with you! As you know, gifts are a key part of the way that we celebrate Christmas. We often exchange gifts with one another at this time of the year. We do this in the tradition of the magi who came to the newborn Jesus that first Christmas and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
We also recognize the gift that Christ is to each one of us as He comes as a newborn King among us. We praise God for sending His only Son to come and be our Savior, our source of hope, and Emmanuel– “God with us.”
In light of the significance of the role of gifts at Christmas, I want to say to you today, First Church, what a tremendous gift you are to me. It is truly my privilege to serve in ministry with you. You are a gift to myself and our community in so many ways.
You are a gift in the ways you seek to honor God by loving Christ first.
You are a gift in the ways you take risks for the sake of the kingdom such as through First Night and the Acts Network and new worship experiences.
You are a gift in the ways you seek to be challenged.
You are a gift in the tangible ways you offer love in our community (feeding folks every week, Family Promise, College Ministry, Transform Mission week, just to name a few).
You are a gift in your generosity as you give faithfully for the advancement of God’s kingdom through God’s Church.
You are a gift as you seek to continually simplify and focus on only the most important ministries that bring about transformation in people’s lives.
You are a gift in your kindness and desire to grow.
You are a gift in that you spend more time looking to what could be for “tomorrow” rather than focusing on what has already happened “yesterday.”
And you are a gift because of your deep desire to see lives truly transformed as collectively we seek “Transformation In Christ, Changing Lives Inside and Out.”
For these, and so many other reasons, I give thanks to God regularly for you and the great, great gift that you are. I pray that this Christmas is a time of reflection and hope found in the greatest gift of all… Jesus Christ!
Merry Christmas First Church. Merry Christmas.