Christmas Caroling this weekend! It has become a Christmas tradition for us to go Christmas Caroling in one or two local neighborhoods. We will do that this Sunday. Meet at church by 4:15. We’ll leave promptly at 4:30 loaded on the back of a trailer with a piano. We’ll carol to about 6:00. We’ll get back to church where we can drive to Tijuana Flats on 436 in Altamonte Springs for some fun and fellowship. It’s always a great time.
Next Friday, 12/18, the children of our school present their annual Christmas service. This year’s theme is centered around the story behind the Twelve Days of Christmas. The service starts at 7:00 p.m. All are invited. (Note: because of the Friday service, there will be no Wednesday night service.)
Other Christmas services:
* Christmas Eve, 12/24, 7:00 p.m.
* Christmas Day, 12/25, 10:00 a.m.
* New Year’s Eve, 12/31, 7:00 p.m.
Tomorrow—Saturday—we are having our pre-Christmas workday. We will focus on cleaning the sanctuary, doing some yard work, and some other odd projects around campus. Also, Christmas tree decorating will take place. The fun starts at 8:00 a.m. We’ll try to wrap up by noon. (Note: No open basketball.)
Speaking of basketball, our school teams have 4 games in 8 days. Class Athlete games are on both Saturdays. Tuesday, 12/15, we have home games at 4:30 & 5:30. Then we go to Kissimmee on Wednesday, games at 5:30 & 6:30. Go Crusaders!
Those are the highlights. Now, here is today’s devotion:
Peace in a Spiritual Desert
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. … Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
Right about now, you may be wondering how you’ll get everything done for Christmas.
We all struggle with Christmas because we don’t always have the resources we need to do Christmas right.
We may have a dozen rolls of wrapping paper and enough Christmas lights for an inter-stellar beacon. But do we have the resources to deal with a mother who still corrects how we set the table? Do we have the resources to deal with a father who has been missing for so many years? Do we have the resources to handle children who run and scream and don’t give us a chance to shower before 2 pm, let alone give us peace on earth?
Probably not – because to handle these Christmas situations and to really celebrate Christmas right, we need spiritual resources. Spiritual resources we won’t find in our hearts.
Those resources aren’t in our hearts because, spiritually speaking, our hearts are deserts of burning sand. They are empty and lifeless.
We still have hope. Isaiah promised that the Lord would bring rivers of life winding between the spiritual sand dunes of our heart. These rivers of life flood us with God’s forgiveness, uncompromising compassion, loving patience, and healing peace.
Where do all these spiritual resources come from? From the baby we’re about to welcome in one week. That child in a wooden feed box is God’s Son. He came to earth on a mission to rain God’s love and peace down on us. Thirty three years after he was born, he suffered for our sins on the cross. His sacrifice opened the floodgates of God’s love for us. He gives us all the peace, love, joy, and hope we can hold – and then some!
So if you want to be ready for the rush of Christmas, tap into baby Jesus. Drink up the rich promises God made through this child:
• Your Father in heaven loves you.
• Your Father in heaven accepts you.
• Your Father in heaven has redeemed you.
• Your Father in heaven has taken away all your guilt.
• Your Father in heaven has prepared a home for you next to him.
You’ll be surprised how well you can deal with Christmas when rivers of life are drenching your heart.
Lord, fill my dusty heart with the river of your life. Remind me why Jesus came to earth. Then my Christmas can be full of joy. Amen.