Pastor’s December Greetings

Greetings SCUMC family and friends!
I pray that things are going well with you. I hope that you had a great thanksgiving celebration with your friends and family.
Here we are in Christmas season. How are going to celebrate Christmas this year? What is your plan to make this season meaningful?
Let me start by telling you what I gave my brother in law for last year Christmas. I gave him a big box wrapped with attractive wrapping paper. He was so excited to open that present. When he opened it, he saw a dozen of beautiful oranges (Those oranges are from a tree in my backyard that he likes). This prank sometimes played on others by bringing a gift wrapped so beautifully—tied with pretty ribbons and artistically decorated with bows and things—the recipient is hesitant to open it because of the attractiveness of the wrappings.
This may happen to Christmas. It comes packaged in such beautiful sounds and colors that we may become so absorbed in these that we miss what they signify.
Familiarity with the wrappings of Christmas is no guarantee that the gift will be opened. Even though we hear the nativity stories read and sung, even though we have the real joy of giving and receiving presents, we can leave God’s great gift to the world unopened.
Christmas is unwrapped when we become wrapped in what it is all about. For centuries people had been seeking a fuller knowledge of the nature of God and his purpose for humankind. God revealed aspects of his character and purpose through the prophets, singers, and wise men of Israel, bit by bit, as they were able to understand. But at best people saw in a mirror darkly.
Knowledge of God’s character and plans was not all that people needed and wanted. They felt helpless under the load of their sin as they struggled to live up to the demands of the law. The more earnest among them sought desperately to make themselves worthy of God’s love. Even if they willed to, they did not have the power to do it. When Jesus came and people got to know him, they discovered available in him a power such as they had never known before. John put it succinctly: “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
Do not leave this gift unopened because of familiarity with or admiration for the beautifully wrapped package. This redemptive power of God is at work still, and streams of grace flow from the life and continuing Spirit of Jesus Christ.
An intellectual understanding of the theological implications of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection is not enough if one is going to be absorbed in what the Christian Christmas celebration is all about. One must have a personal experience of trust in and commitment to the living God in Christ. “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” (Colossians 1:27)
At the end of this issue, there are 4 fliers which you can cut and give them to your and bring your friends as well so we all can enjoy the significant of Christmas.
Let’s pray, “Dear Lord, don’t let us miss You this Christmas season. Help us to simplify our activities and traditions so we can focus our celebration on Your birth. Thank You for being the Prince of Peace, and I ask You for that supernatural peace to reign in our hearts. Thank You for the simple but life-changing message of Your love for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” ~ Melanie Chitwood

Pastor Vathanak Heang