Thoughts Towards Christmas

Laila says she will never marry me again at Christmastime. December 18 is our anniversary---51 years of happiness, loving each other, serving our God together and dreaming of what we will do for Christ and His Church.  We decided to take the day and chill...get out of town...see the city limits sign in our rearview mirror. Spend the night away.    I was trying to recover from a cough.  As the day progressed it worsened. About midday we started home without ever opening our suitcase.   Entering Charlottesville we drove by Covenant. Masons were high on scaffolding laying blocks, while depending more on street lights than the fading sun.   It would not be good theology to assume that God alters weather just to please one family or one congregation. But the truth is that this week's weather is a gift from heaven for Covenant Church. Masons laying block walls 40 feet high in 60 degree weather on December 18 is a blessing. Four more days of good weather forecast for this week. We are hopeful as preparations for erecting steel proceed.   At 8 AM Monday morning trucks were on site to pump concrete for pads in the bottom of the future children's school area, elevator, stairwell and hallway. It is done and finished as this letter is being penned to you.   Last Sunday we celebrated Christmas with a musical presentation reflecting diversity of culture and nations. It was worshipful and beautiful. And exciting and motivating.  God is on the move!   Weeks ago after morning worship we talked with a wonderful family from Puerto Rico. Likable folks. I mentioned that it would be great to have them as part of our congregation. The husband, Carlos, responded: "Find me a job, and we will come."   He sent me a resume that Sunday evening. Monday and Tuesday following phone calls and contacts were made to businesses that I respect. Carlos interviewed. Returned to Puerto Rico. A company called with a follow-up interview. They hired him. Then they called him back and gave him a promotion with a pay raise, sent pictures of his new office and shared their excitement that he will be joining the company.   Carlos arrives December 19. He goes to work December 21. His family will arrive from Puerto Rico to join him and Covenant Church on December 25.   This coming Sunday we will have family worship. Everyone will be in the sanctuary. There will be a time when children thru age 12 will be invited to sit around me while the Christmas story is read.   As we move into the coming year the building program will be major on our calendar. However, in prayerful reflection the Holy Spirit is refreshing the call to missions. While the building program is time-lined, necessary, and there is a need for special giving, we cannot and we will not allow the building program to rob our hearts of the joy of consistent and generous giving to missions.    Celebrating the Birth of Jesus this Sunday we will emphasize a mission offering. While Jesus is the Living Word, we will give so that the printed word may be sent to those who have never had a Bible. The typical cost to put a Bible in the hands of a missionary or hungry soul is $5.   Will you pray and plan with us about a gift of Bibles for Christmas?   Please know that Laila and I and the pastoral staff assure you of our love for you, desire to serve you and willingness to walk along with you in this joyful journey celebrating the Jesus of the Resurrection!   Much Love--- Pastor Bare  Matthew 1:21   P.S. Laila and I will host three events to our home this weekend: Friday at 6:30 PM, Saturday at 9 AM and Sunday [Christmas Eve] at 4:30 PM. Feel free to email Laila if you wish to sign up to be present  And, yes, you may come to more than one!