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This week's gold nugget comes from a popular Bible verse. I'm not sure as to how many fully comprehend it, but it is well known. " For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. When we think of "giving" this time of year, I can't help but to think of the gift that God gave to man kind; His own Son, as a substitute sacrifice for you and I. Christ paid the penalty of sin for us so that we wouldn't have to pay the consequence of sin and spend eternity separated from God. Sadly many refuse to accept this gift by repenting and believing on Christ, but rather choose to ignore the cross or trust in something else for their salvation.
Why would God make such a sacrifice ? The answer is in the verse, but I'd like to share this cute story I received recently to answer that question. I hope you enjoy it and have a merry Christmas.
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."
I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.
So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love." The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood - the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: "CHRISTWAS LOVE"
And, I believe, He still is.
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: 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.
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.
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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