December 2018 Connection

The Great Gift – An Advent Christmas Letter
As we journey to Bethlehem this Christmas, we become aware of the overpowering urge in each of us to seek out worship and the joy of this Christ child. Just as the shepherds and the folk of first century Palestine, did we find Christ in the most unlikely places?
Not found on a throne, but in the stench of a smelly stable. Not ruling over the world, but moving in the lives of people with healing and liberating power. Just as the Bethlehem stable brings into sharp contrast the glory and ugliness of life, so also does the contemporary human drama bring the same competing forces to our attention. The child of God is found to be vulnerable, broken and rejected. Yet these followers wait with the Christ Child at the very threshold of human fulfillment, yearning to be received by us.
As we bring our modest offerings to the poor and disenfranchised, we are caught up in the power of God’s movement. To seek to serve Christ in the lives of the poor is to enter into the spotlight of history. The star leads us to the refugees of our world: the homeless, the suffering, the strangers, the addicted, and those yearning for a quiet and secure place amidst the confusion of life.
I believe that the reason Christmas touches us at the deepest places of our souls is because we are ultimately journeying, seeking, and gift-bearing people. Show me a human soul and I will show you someone bringing gifts from afar. This year, you have an opportunity to make a generous gift of love towards supporting all of the ministries of our GBUMC.
Yet the greatest gift is not what we bring, but what we receive as we journey forward in our search for Christ. We will be transformed by God’s gift to us this Advent and Christmas season. Those who work among the poor discover this amazing truth. In the hidden lives of the poor, we discover the Christ Child. As we give, we are given to. Let us not miss that opportunity.
God is also on a journey this Christmas, meeting us at the obscure Bethlehem stable, infusing our lives with joy and light. What Gift will you bring to Christ? What gift does Christ offer to you in this Holy season? Our gift to the Christ child represents our personal love and loyalty to God and His gift to us in the birth of the Christ child. Come to church this Advent! Come expecting your life to be enriched and transformed!
I wish you peace and harmony in this blessed Advent Season.
Julius E. Del Pino, Pastor
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