December 22, 2016

Dear First Pres,

   The Ushers are getting organized, the musicians are rehearsing, the kids are practicing their lines, the office staff is finalizing bulletins, the custodians are making sure the Sanctuary is clean, the candles are being assembled, the text for the screens is being proofed, the nursery is getting staffed, the pastors are writing their prayers, and I'm working on the sermons - all of that to be ready to celebrate Christmas this weekend. I'm so grateful for the many folks who make a weekend, like the one upcoming, possible. Of course, there are those folks who are up front and help lead the services (like me). But there are many others who have worked or will be working behind the scenes.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Sunday worship services are a team effort, and I am very grateful for this particular team.
 
  Of course, you are part of that team as well. Do you know your assignment? If not, let me remind you. Your job between now and Saturday evening is at least threefold. First, you should be preparing your heart to celebrate the incredible gift of Christ Jesus. Second, you should be praying that the Holy Spirit will use our services this weekend to draw people to a deeper faith in Jesus. Imagine how the Lord might work if all of us are praying with one accord over these next few days! Third, you should be asking the Lord who He would have you invite to the services and stepping out in faith as He directs you.
 
   You also have one primary assignment on Christmas Eve: to be a host. How can you be a host? Start, if you're able, by parking in the back half of the parking lot. That'll leave more space up close for our newcomers. Then be a friendly face to those you encounter as you make your way into the Sanctuary. If there are people you don't know, say, "Merry Christmas! I don't think we've met before, I'm (insert your name)." When you enter the Sanctuary and find a place to sit, move towards the center aisle so that others (that might even come a few minutes late) can easily find a seat along the outside aisles. Welcome and greet those who are seated around you, especially if you haven't met them before. Then, when the worship service starts, participate with all your heart! When we approach the evening as hosts, it'll make a huge difference for the newcomers among us.
 
   Finally, don't forget to come on Sunday morning. I love it when we get to worship together on Christmas Day. The service will be much more casual than a normal Sunday. In fact, feel free to just bring the kids in their pajamas (that's what we've meant when we've said it will be a "cozy" service). We will do a bunch of singing (I've been practicing on guitar all week); we'll have a special message for the kids, we'll pray together, and celebrate God's faithfulness; and, there will be a short sermon. All in all, I think it will be totally worth the effort for you to come and be a part of our Christmas morning celebration. The service starts at 10:00 a.m.
 
   May you know the joy of Christ as you prepare to celebrate God's gift to us, Immanuel.
 

Blessings,