2015 Christmas Worship Guide

The most wonder-filled time of the year
By Greg Wooten, pastor of Lincoln Church of the Nazarene

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[December 14, 2015]  Christmas is a season of love. A season of miracles. A season for giving. These are the things that make it the most wonderful time of the year.

At least thatís what we hear when we binge-watch too many Hallmark Channel holiday movies. You know the ones Iím talking about, right? It all starts with a mismatched couple in a doomed relationship. As the plot unfolds a new love interest appears and a whirlwind romance ensues often involving a visit to a tree lot or an ice skating rink or a magical sage-like Santa Claus. About an hour and a half into the two hour presentation a complication arises that threatens to derail any hope for lasting happiness. But, thanks to creative script-writers, the difficulty is somehow overcome and they reunite, kiss, and commence their happily ever after as the Christmas snow falls and the credits roll. The actors, characters, and a few of the details change, but apart from that most of these shows are cut from the same Christmas cookie cutter.

Lest I be unfairly labeled a cynic or Scrooge, I must confess that my wife and I enjoy these sappy sweet tales. They can be a welcome escape from the brutality of life. But it seems lately that the brutality is winning. Just a couple of days ago it was a mass shooting in San Bernardino. Last month a terror strike in Paris inspired people to fly the colors of the French flag on their Facebook profiles. A few years ago it was scenes of the bodies of children being removed from Sandy Hook Elementary School. This never-ending succession of violence leads me to believe that by the time you are reading these words some new tragedy will have bumped California from the spotlight. I hate to say we are growing numb, but Iím afraid we canít keep up emotionally with the pace of the atrocities. There donít seem to be enough tears to go around.

And if these acts arenít tragic and senseless enough life has been brutal in another way for some people who are very close to my heart. Just days ago I sat in a crowded overflow seating area at a funeral service for a young man so dearly loved that there was hardly enough room for the hundreds who came to honor his life and mourn his loss. The voice of Andy Williams on the radio keeps ringing out, ďItís the most wonderful time of the year.Ē How can it be when death seems to be surrounding us, winning the day, reigning over all the earth?

We must remember that Christmas is much more than a feel-good Hallmark holiday. Christmas is a season of great contrasts, ironies, and paradoxes. I hope you will pause to think about what really makes this season the most wonder-filled time of the year. Here are a few of my favorite ponderables:

God, Creator of all things, creating Himself, folding His eternal self into an embryo in the womb of a virgin peasant girl.

Omnipotent God, Almighty and not dependent on anyone or anything, making Himself helpless and utterly dependent as a human baby.

The King who has always, is now, and will forever reign over every other king being born in the shadows, sleeping in a feed trough.

Shepherds, socially considered the lowest class of their place, people, and time, being invited to the most royal birthday party ever given.

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Angels, armies of terror-inspiring spirit warriors, laying aside their weapons of war invading the earth to sing about peace from heaven, from God Himself.

Godís own people, missing the signs of His arrival, but foreign astrologers so convinced that history was about change that they made a treacherous pilgrimage to bring honor to the infant monarch.

The joy of Jesusí birth and the tears of other Bethlehem mothers deprived of their baby boys by the madness of a jealous king who ordered their execution.


The Light of the world entering our darkness.

Let this enigma grip your heart:
Whatever may happen in this dark place His light has appeared. Light that reveals our own personal darkness. Light that heals our souls. Light that teaches us truth. Light that beckons us to follow in His footsteps. Light that will lead us home.

At Christmas we remember that whatever may come God is with us. And thatís what makes it the most wonderful time of the year.

 

Read all the articles in our new
2015 Christmas Worship Guide

Title
CLICK ON TITLES TO GO TO PAGES
Page
Advent Promise
Pastor Adam Quine
4
The best news...Jesus, a gift to the broken
Pastor Michael Paulson
6
Hurry home
Pastor Larry Crawford
7
Still amazed by Christmas
Pastor Ken Kramer
10
The most wonder-filled time of the year
Pastor Greg Wooten
13
"Christmas doesn't happen without me"
Pastor Jonathan Buesdher
15
There's blues this season...,and there's Jesus
Pastor Michael Mallick
17
Could one man's decision 2,000 years ago change hearts today?
Pastor Mark Weber
18
"Recognizing the Truth of Christmas"
Pastor Stacy Popejoy
20
See with joy, the Christ Child has come
Pastor/Chaplain Ryan Edgecombe
25
Where is the new King?
Pastor Zoila Marty
26
The bike before Christmas
Pastor Ben Manley
27
Church Worship Schedules 30

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