LOVE ALL (Aldena Gerber)
Advent has always been a meaningful time for me. A time to ‘prepare’ for Christmas and a time of sharing. Ever since I was young my parents instilled in me the joy of sharing and giving. “You can never out give the Lord” is still one of the phrases I often hear my parents say.
They taught me to give to others even though we did not have much growing up. We often found groceries on our back porch, some extra money in an envelope and one dairy farmer gave us free milk the whole time my dad was a pastor. (In fact when he decided to stop, his milking cows dried up and as he prayed to God he started giving our family milk again and his cows milked extra!! ) My parents always gave freely and willingly to those in need sometimes when we had very little. As I got older and had a family of my own I have realized more and more the importance of this training. Kerry and I have taken on this giving philosophy for ourselves and our family. We have been blessed and try to bless others particularly at the Holiday season. We try to give to different charities but also giving “in secret” (Matthew 6:3-4 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you). Remember it is not about you but about God and being obedient to Him when you give. So many people need our help and I would offer a few suggestions you can do to Give More this Advent Season. If you know of a family in need, put together a gift hamper with food and wrapped gifts in it. Or you can give a gift of cash anonymously. If you do not know of anyone, ask one or our Deacons to give you a suggestion. Wrap a gift for a child who needs a little extra this session. If you like to bake Christmas goodies, make extra and put them on plate or in a tin and give them out with a blessing. If you cannot give financially there are other ways of giving more. Write a card of appreciation, tell someone how much they mean to you, phone a friend you have not seen in a while and let them know how important they are or have been in your life. It truly is more blessed to give.
Challenge (by Devon Wagler)
Joseph was not only faced with the issue of his future wife already pregnant, but also the personal ridicule he will suffer because of it. But Joseph trust God and marries Mary despite the sacrifice of reputation and standing in his community.
What kind of ridicule would you expect to face from friends, family, co-workers, and others in your community if you decided to make Christmas something different for yourself this year? Prepare yourself to face and conquer these challenges.
“This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.” (Frank McKibben)