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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
RICK'S BLOG will return
Wednesday January 17, 2018

 


 

I am, as I do every Christmas season, reading my favorite Christmas book, Charles Dickens' "A CHRISTMAS CAROL".  Through the years I've had several copies of this story, one is in a collection of Dickens' classics, one is in a collection of other Christmas stories, and this year my copy is on my IPad (backlit with big letters...yeah!).  No matter what the setting or context, this story continues to amaze and inspire me.  It was my privilege to be involved with a production (as script and songwriter) for the North Anderson Church of God (now Madison Park) production of "A CHRISTMAS CAROL", which they still perform annually...I hope that you've gotten to see it at least once.  It doesn't seem to matter what kind of Christmas season I'm having, or when or where I'm reading, Charles Dickens uses his words to reach down into the soul where he communicates that best of all messages to the child that is still hiding inside of this old shell.

 

The great question of the story for me is; how can Scrooge, with all of the resource that his world can offer, miss completely the joy...while Tim Cratchit, sick, poor and facing a certain and early death, seems to not only understand but embody the joy of Christmas?  And what is that JOY OF CHRISTMAS?

 

In the story, itís perhaps easier to see what the JOY OF CHRISTMAS is not.  When one observes Scrooge, it's easy to understand the JOY does not come from wealth or power.  Scrooge has an abundance of both and neither has given him joy.  One can also see that memories of Christmas, though fond and perhaps filled with warmth, love and kindness, are more often a reminder that Christmastime now does not fulfill the memories of what it used to be.  For Scrooge, his past memories of Christmas only filled him with despair at all he had lost or cast aside.

 

So what is THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS?  At its core, it is the knowledge that our Great God cared enough to save us through such elaborate and sacrificial means as placing His Son in this God-forsaken world, where he put on our skin, felt our pain, walked our path...just so that we would trust and follow.  We no longer need to fear the grave, we no longer are victims of our circumstance, we are no longer prisoners of our past, our present or our future.

 

Tim Cratchit embodies the idea that despite our circumstance, Christmas and its joy transcends all, life is not totally encompassed in this Age, but lives beyond...and LIFE is not defined solely by heartbeat and breath.  Christmas Joy is greater than the sum of our surroundings, our memories, our hopes.  And what finally makes Scrooge happy, what fills him with a joy that sets him dancing?  Giving.  Because Christmas Joy is outside of ourselves, we find the physical manifestation of that joy is also outside of ourselves. 

 

Isn't that just like God?  We must GIVE to GAIN.  The percentages will always remain the same, in the Kingdom of God; the more joy you give, the more joy you receive, whether it's smiles, time, talent, cash or love.

 

"I have come that you might have life...and have a FULL life."

JOHN 10:10


'Love you all...see you in Church


The CHURCH OFFICE will be closed on
MONDAY DECEMBER 25th,
a
nd MONDAY, JANUARY 1st. 
Office Hours December 26th-29th are 10a-2p.


PRAYERS THIS WEEK
This week we pray for our CCC FRONT DOOR MINISTRIES, and also we pray for the congregation at
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH

Please also pray for our Church Family listed here:
Joan Allison, Cindy Allison, Chuck Caswell, Tod & Karen Custer, Larry Dodd, Richard Glaze, Bobby Jo Greenwalt, Elva Mae Hamilton, Sandy Holder, Marilyn Pertz, Bob Phillips, John Robinson, Luanna Robinson, Donna Romine, and Richard Strock







SUNDAYS
January 7 & 14, 2018
The Rev. Dr. Kimberly Majeski

I am very happy to share my friend, Kim, with you all at Central. This brilliant woman has been a friend for years and she will be filling the pulpit in January while I am gone. My only regret is that I will not be there to hear her.

Kimberly is a scholar, storyteller and activist who challenges her audiences to find the connection between their personal story and the ancient story of the Scriptures. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, this radio personality, conference speaker, women's retreat leader, Bible teacher, and pastor, captivates audiences with her storytelling that is engaging, transparent and uplifting.

She currently serves as Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries at Anderson University and is a co host for Viewpoint, a syndicated radio program for Christians Broadcasting Hope. Additionally, Kimberly is founder and CEO of Stripped Inc., a not for profit ministry empowering women in sex trade to walk out of fear and into love. strippedlove.org

Kimberly and her husband Kevin reside in Anderson, Indiana with their son Max and two black cats, Monkey and Henry.

Read her BLOG at
 http://www.kimberlymajeski.com






DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS
4
4
4
5
6
8
8
8
9
10
Glo Dunaway-Long
Michelle Lusher
Gary Schuster, Sr.
Tod Custer
Ted McDuffee
Judy Dick
Patty Glaze
Bill Presser
Peggy Zion
Mike Romack
12
13
15
17
18
20
20
21
25
30
Elva Mae Hamilton
Denny Hadley
Erik Johnsen
Lynn High
Charles Rubenking
Marilyn Akers
Carlynn Malone
Nancy Cunningham
Ralph Sipes
Joann Rubenking

If we have somehow neglected to place your Birthday on this list, please let us know by contacting Cammie in the Church Office...thank you.





For a comprehensive calendar of ALL EVENTS
(Church and non-church events)
in our building,
please click on the CALENDAR button below
to go to the official church calendar.

CENTRAL CALENDAR

WEDNESDAY
December 20th
  10:30am - Yarn Ministry (Calder Library)

THURSDAY
December 21st
  7:30pm - The Alley Theatre presents, "THE 39 STEPS" (Hoover Theatre)

FRIDAY
December 22nd
  7:30pm - The Alley Theatre presents, "THE 39 STEPS" (Hoover Theatre)

SATURDAY
December 23rd
  7:30pm - The Alley Theatre presents, "THE 39 STEPS" (Hoover Theatre)

SUNDAY
December 24th
ADVENT IV
CHRISTMAS EVE
  9:00am - Chancel Choir (Sanctuary)
10:00am - WORSHIP
(Sanctuary)
7:00pm - "Lessons & Carols" (Sanctuary)

MONDAY
December 25th
  MERRY CHRISTMAS
(The Church Office is Closed)

TUESDAY
December 26TH
  Church Office is open 10a-2p
No Scheduled Church Events

WEDNESDAY
December 27th
  Church Office is open 10a-2p
No Scheduled Church Events



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