I pray each of you had a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving last week. We have an abundance that we are all thankful for. God has provided us with gifts of love and friendship. And now we turn our attention to the Advent Season and to Christmas. Obviously, looking at the newspapers and TV, Christmas sales are on. Record sales were made on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Our children and grandchildren are making their lists for Santa Clause and it’s an exciting time of the year.
But it’s also the time of year to slow down a little and reflect on our lives. Have we accomplished what we wanted for 2018? Have we grown deeper in our faith? Have we kept up with our daily devotions and prayer? How has our relationship been with our kinfolk and neighbors? How has our relationship been with God? Are we satisfied with the answers to all these questions? If not, then Advent is our time of year. We come to church and before God with a repentant attitude, asking for forgiveness. And part of repentance is asking God for the strength and will to be more like his child by sharing more with our church and neighbor in thought, word, and deed.
Next week, I will be departing with a group of about 15-20 people to Israel. We will visit the area around the Sea of Galilee where most of Jesus’ ministry occurred. We will remember our baptism at the Jordon River, and then I will baptize my brother-in-law in the Jordon! We will then travel onward through the Samarian hill country and visit Jacob’s well. We will get a chance to swim (or actually float) in the Dead Sea and the on to Jerusalem. I have been warned that a trip like this will change a person’s whole conception of the Bible, seeing the land where it all happened. I am excited about getting an opportunity to visit the Holy Land and ask for your prayers for a safe passage to and from the birth of Christianity. I am convinced that I will return more ready than ever to celebrate the Christmas season.
There will be a lot going on at St. John’s in the month of December. Our annual Christmas play will be on December 16. Our Christmas Eve Service will be on Monday before Christmas. We have a lot to be thankful in this month, especially the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior. I invite everyone to join us in celebrating this world changing event and the ability to share that good news with those with whom we come in contact. As always, I look forward to serving our Lord through working with you and for you!
As always, I thank you for being the church!
See all of you in church Sunday!
In His Service,
John Derrick, Pastor