December 7, 2017

Dear First Pres, 

   It's that time again. It's time to start talking to your coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family about what they're doing on Christmas Eve. And, if they don't have a church home, it's time to start inviting them to one of our Christmas Eve services.
 
   This year, Christmas Eve is on a Sunday. So, we're going to have one service that morning at 9:30. It'll be our celebration of the fourth Sunday of Advent. That means that it will be a completely different service than our evening services to celebrate Christmas Eve. I really hope you come to enjoy this morning service with the whole congregation in one service.
 
   Then, in the evening we will host three worship services: 4:00; 5:30; & 7:00pm. The 4:00pm service will be our most family friendly service. Our kids choirs are singing, kids will be involved in worship leadership, there will be a special kids' activity, and the sermon will be condensed. The 5:30 & 7:00pm services will include the full orchestra and Christmas Choir, but the 5:30 service will still have a special activity for the kids (and the rest of us).
 
   For the last few years, the 5:30 service has been the most crowded. So, I encourage you to consider the 4:00 or 7:00pm service. And remember, all of us who call First Pres our church home are hosts on Christmas Eve. That means we act like hosts to everyone we encounter in the parking lot, the Sanctuary entry, the pew, or the lawn. When we do that, we help all of those who are newcomers feel like welcomed friends.
 
   At this year's Messiah Sing-Along, I was sitting in the balcony while Julie Carter gave an announcement about our Christmas Eve services. Sitting in front of me was a family that had no idea I was the Senior Pastor of the church. When Julie made the announcement, mom and dad (of the family in front of me) turned to each other and started talking about whether or not they should come. I've been praying for them ever since.
 
   Remember, Beloved, we don't always know who the Spirit has been prompting about coming to church. So, don't be afraid to sow the seed (or to invite) generously. So many more would come if they were simply and personally invited. Maybe God will use your invitation to spark a wonderful work of redeeming transformation in the life of another. There is no better gift you could give than that.
 
   So, is your Christmas Eve lawn sign up? Do you know who you're going to invite? Have you prayed about it? Have you grabbed an invitation card in the Sanctuary Entry? Do you have a plan? I hope this reminder helps you get started on each of those, and I pray that God prepares the hearts of each one you courageously invite.

Blessings,
Jeremy