December 16-22, 2016
Christmastime is Here!
I love Christmas! But two of the difficulties I face every year around this time are 1) relating to others about how I feel about Christmas so they will be empathetic, and 2) trying to stir up the "Christmas spirit" in myself. I suspect I'm not the only person who struggles in these ways. I also expect that others besides me get nostalgic around this time of year. So that I'm sure you know what I mean, let me provide a definition. Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
As I descended into my teenage years, I would become nostalgic about Christmases when I was a kid. Life was simpler then. My greatest joy then was waking up at 5 in the morning to unveil and play with my newest Ninja Turtle action figure. But as I got older I began to long for something that I never had and had never experienced. Even the cartoon, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, began to make me cry and I could not articulate why. I was beginning to have nostalgia for something I somehow knew was real, but had never actually experienced. As C.S. Lewis put it, I was longing for a country which I knew was my home, but a country to which I had never been and I didn't exactly know how to get there. During the Christmas of 1999, that all changed. That was the year I came to know the Lord Jesus Himself. That was truly the happiest Christmas of my life up to that point. Since then, I have continued to have nostalgia during Christmas about past events (and future events!) for which I have actually never been present. On the other hand, I couldn't long for those realities surrounding the 1st and 2nd Advents if I had not experienced the ever-present reality of Christ in me, the hope of glory.
As far as positioning oneself to get "in the Christmas spirit" is concerned, various things work to that effect every year. In years past, while away at seminary, Holly and I have been refreshed and "re-joyed" by celebrating Advent each week leading up to Christmas with our friends or going to a candle light service at church. This year I have personally been revived by reading the prophet Isaiah. I started in November and I'm almost done studying the book. Some of my favorites are from the Servant poems: (Let me decorate the passages like a Christmas tree so you get the full effect!)
"And now the LORD says, Who formed Me from the womb [to be] His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, And My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.' "--Is. 49:5-6
"The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God."--Is. 52:10
Among the best moments of nostalgia ever, Simeon is almost certainly meditating on these Scriptures when he sees the newborn Christ child and declares:
"Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to [bring] revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."--Luke 2:29-32.
I have shared that declaration three times this week already! That's how much I love it! I just wish I could articulate the significance and impact of such a declaration in such a moment when nostalgia about past prophecies and hope for the future find ultimate and even bodily fulfillment in the present. Simeon literally saw the incarnation of God's salvation and it is that which gives meaning to our own pasts, presents, and futures.
Celebrating Jesus, "For He will save His people from their sins."
- Check out the welcome table for upcoming events and sign ups.
- Children's Ministry: Anyone currently serving or interested in serving as a teacher or on nursery rotation please take a job description form from the welcome table. We need 1 extra teacher on Wednesday nights and 2 extra Sunday School teachers to add to the rotation. Please see Regina if you can be available for any of those.
Nursery Teacher Needed on Wednesday nights starting in January.
We are now collecting canned goods for the kids to give away as an outreach during the month of January. Please place your canned food items in the box next to the welcome table.
- There will be a Family Meeting on Sunday night, December 18th. We will have a soup and sandwich fellowship meal prior to the meeting. Please bring soup, sandwiches, and/or desserts for the meal. The church will provide drinks.
- Student Ministry: Winter Breakaway is coming up! Remaining balances are now past due. See David if you haven't paid!
- Women's Community Bible Study is at 2 locations this year! Lisa is teaching through the Gospel of Mark. The bible study is being hosted by Grace Fellowship on Tuesday mornings at 10 AM (childcare provided) and by NCBC on Tuesday evenings at 7 PM (no child care provided).
- Please continue to fill up the baby bottles for Real Life Pregnancy Center and return them to the basket in the sanctuary.
Dates to Mark on Your Calendar:
December 18 - Family Meeting
Dec. 28-Jan. 1 - Breakaway Student Conference
- Pray for all the benevolence cases we work with on a weekly basis. Most of them are unchurched. Pray the gospel takes root and praise God for all the provision we have to be able to do this ministry.
- Pray for all our missionary families that we support either directly or through the Cooperative Program. This time of year is especially difficult for them to be away from their families, but their labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Volunteers for this week:
Sunday Morning Childcare:
Bed Babies through 2's - Jennifer Rains, Lisa Spence, Chris Knight
3 through 4 year olds - Regina Gregg and Alan Bledsoe
Last Week’s Statistics:
|Budget Receipts this Week:
|Budget Needs Weekly:
|Budget Receipts YTD:
|Budget Needs YTD:
|Building Fund this Week:
|Building Fund YTD:
New Covenant Baptist Church – www.DiscoverNewCovenant.com
912 E. Main Street, P.O. Box 131- Albertville, AL 35950
Pastor – Brad Williams
Family Pastor -- David Porch
9:30am – Sunday School
10:30am - Worship Service
6:00pm – Community Groups
6:00pm - Children/Student Activities
6:00pm – Adult Bible Study
Our mission and passion at New Covenant Baptist Church is to glorify God by becoming a community that fosters the love of God with all of the heart, soul, mind and strength, and by learning to love one another as Christ Jesus has loved us.The answer to every heart's need and the satisfaction of all our longing is found in Jesus Christ our Lord, who is Himself the very image of Almighty God. We exist to adore Him, and to spread the knowledge of His greatness to the ends of the earth.