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This week's gold nugget comes from Luke 2:7, "And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." A decree went forth from Caesar Augustus that everyone was to go to their city of birth to be taxed. So little Bethlehem was all a hustle and bustle with lots of people. The inn's were crowded and busy, so when Joseph and Mary came into town (Mary being ready to give birth to the savior) there was no room for them.
It's amazing as you look at our shopping malls and business of life this time of year, the allegory and similarities of this scene. The saddest part being the fact that there wasn't any room for the savior. As I thought of this scenario, I couldn't help but remember a story I heard about what someone said at a large Christmas parade in a big city last year. There were many floats, marching bands, and of course Santa and the reindeer. Near the end of the parade was a large float with a live nativity scene. As this float came into sight, one person said in disgust, "What nerve they have for injecting religion into Christmas!"
How absurd! Christ not being in Christmas? Without Christ, there would be no Christmas. It is His birth, after all that is our cause for celebration! Can there really be people that blind and inoculated to God and His Word? Can humanism, secularism and theories like evolution have had such an impact on our culture that such a thought process could be expressed?
I personally enjoy this Christian holiday. The gathering of family and friends, the meals ,the giving, the lights and decor, but it all fades into the background as I stop and focus on its true meaning. We always read Luke chapter 2 as a family and we've even had a birthday cake for Jesus! I minimize certain secular traditions and try not to let the pressure of having to have an expensive, special gift for everybody ruin the spirit of the occasion . It's about Jesus! Why do I make such a big deal of the focus of the occasion? Because I realize that, but for the grace of God, that could be my child, as an adult some day at a large Christmas parade in a big city. And, more important than those words voiced is the spiritual condition of the heart behind them. Have a special and merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 18: St. Johns, Susquehanna.
Thursday, December 19: Holy Name of Mary, Montrose.
Monday, December 23: St. Francis, Friendsville.
The Great Bend Alliance Church, located on Randolph Street, in Great Bend, PA will present a musical drama on Sunday, December 22, at 10:30 a.m. The cantata, The Road To Bethlehem, is about a little boy named Caleb, his mother, Esther and his father, Jonas as they travel to Bethlehem to pay their taxes to the Roman government. Come join and follow them on their journey to Bethlehem. There will be a continental breakfast at 9:45 a.m. For more information or directions to the Church, phone (570) 879-2741 or (570) 879-2758.
St. John the Evangelist Church, 101 Jackson Avenue, Susquehanna, announces the following Sunday Mass time change and Christmas/New Years schedule.
The time for the first Sunday Mass will change from 8:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.
Christmas Schedule: Penance Service Wednesday, December 18, 7 p.m.; Vigil Tuesday, December 24, 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Christmas Day Wednesday, December 25, 12:10 p.m.
New Years Schedule: Vigil Tuesday, December 31, 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.; New Years Day Wednesday, January 1, 12:10 p.m.
On December 22, the Wesleyan Choir of the Montrose United Methodist Church will present the Joseph and Pamela Martin cantata, "Canticle of Joy," at the 10:30 a.m. worship service.
Speaking of the work, Martin says, "Is it not a profound blessing that we celebrate our Lords birth in December? It always comes at just the right time; in the bleak of winter when days are shorter, nights are colder, and memories of springtime are fading. It is then that Christmas comes sweeping into our lives with song and celebration. Against the silence of our spiritual winter, heavens song of joy leaps into hearts with angelic alleluias and jubilant glorias! Let the music of Christmas reawaken the promise of Gods presence and love in our lives and remind each of us that our faith is song worth singing, a Canticle of Joy that is made all the more glorious when it is shared."
Members of the Wesleyan Choir (l-r) are: first row Debbie Sherman, Martha Denkenberger, Betty Reimel, Mary Ann Hurd, Margaret Stone, Ruth Yeager, Sara Gary; second row David Andre, Sarah Birchard, Helen Tucker, Marie King, Louise Smith, Kathy Andre, Priscilla Andre, Horace King; third row Curtis Stone, Joe Robertson, Homer Porter, Harold Gary, Malcolm (Joe) Andre. Absent from the photo are Bob Truman and Michael Davenport.
Since the inception of the Wesleyan Choir in the 1930s, even as directors changed, the choir has continued to be known for its excellence. Now under the direction of David Andre and accompanied by Martha Denkenberger, this choir, augmented by a few other quality voices, is sure to fill the deep need in all for the beauty of fine music.
The public is cordially invited to join in this worship celebration of pageantry and music. The service is under the direction of the Reverend Dr. Horace Brown King.
The Bridgewater Baptist Church will present Christmas Is Jesus on Sunday, December 22, 10:30 a.m. Mike Speck, creator of this musical, wants to focus listeners attention on the simplicity and peacefulness of Christmas and point them to the One who offers hope for the hurting and eternal life for those who are willing to accept God the Fathers gift of love through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The songs and narration will remind all those present that Christmas is not about us Christmas is Jesus!
Bridgewater Baptist Church, located on Church and Spruce in Montrose, gladly welcomes visitors to this special presentation. Call (570) 278-2352 for more details.
Lanesboro Community Church welcomes all to come celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ through its beautiful Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Tuesday, December 24 beginning at 8:00 p.m.
That night, follow the outdoor candle luminaries leading into the church doors and immediately be drawn closer to God through His Son, Jesus Christ in the warm, candle-illuminated sanctuary, featuring the white and gold-ornamented Christmas tree, full of symbols of Christ's love.
Then, through carol-singing, inspiring readings, choir anthems, the evening message, and the dramatic concluding candle lighting, welcome or re-welcome Jesus into your life for transformation which only His light can bring.
Especially in these times of uncertainty, we need Jesus, the Light of the world. Come to Lanesboro Community Church on Christmas Eve and encounter Him as the Light of your life.
Singer and songwriter Carrie Brush will present a Christmas concert Sunday, December 22, 6:00 p.m., at the Bridgewater Baptist Church, Montrose. She chooses a variety of music styles that honors the Lord, ministers to hearts, encourages believers, and draws listeners into the excitement of praising the God she serves.
Carrie and the church family at Bridgewater Baptist invite the public to set aside an hour during this busy season to join them in reflecting on the Christ of Christmas. Call the church office at 278-2352 for directions or more information.
The beautiful and inspiring community Ecumenical Advent/Christmas Service will be celebrated this coming Sunday afternoon, December 22 at 4:00 p.m. in St. John's Roman Catholic Church, Susquehanna.
Featuring choirs and ensembles from many of our area churches and this year reflecting Oxford University's Service of Lessons and Carols, this service is always a highlight of the holiday season.
Plan now to join your friends and neighbors at the community Ecumenical Advent/Christmas Service, a wonderful way to prepare to welcome the newborn King, Jesus Christ, into our lives. An offering will be received to benefit the Tri-Boro Ministerium's outreach to the less fortunate of our area.
Holy Name of Mary Church, Montrose announces the following schedule of Masses for Christmas and New Years.
Tuesday, December 24: Christmas Eve 5:15 p.m. childrens fourth grade pageant; 9:00 p.m. Christmas Mass.
Wednesday, December 25: Christmas Day Mass at 9:00 a.m.
Tuesday, December 31: New Years Eve 7:00 p.m. Mass followed by Eucharistic Adoration until midnight, followed by Mass.
Wednesday, January 1: New Years Day Mass at 9:00 a.m.
The Great Bend Hallstead Lutheran Church will start holding Sunday morning worship services and Sunday School on January 5, 2003. The church service will be at 8 a.m., followed by fellowship at 9 a.m., children's Sunday school and adult Bible Study at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday Bible Study will continue to be held at 7 p.m. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served. The church is located at 302 Main Street, Great Bend, PA. For information call Pastor Bode, (570) 289-4468; John Ord, (570) 879-4451; or Vic Peckenschneider, (570) 879-5154.
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