WOW, where did this year go? I am excited and looking forward for the month of December. Because it follows November. In that we have given thanks for all we have and have accomplished through the LORD. I thank God for each of you and am grateful to be the Pastor at Linden UMC. Now we are headed toward Christmas. Where we, as the church, celebrate the Advent Season building up to the Birth of the Christ Child. Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the LORD! The most exciting reason is found in Matthew 1:21 “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call His name JESUS; for He shall save HIS people from their sins.” She being the virgin Mary. JESUS being the gift to the world to reconcile us to our FATHER in Heaven and save us from our sins. As we experience this month I will be praying for you to reach out to others inviting them to meet your Savior.
As the church we will celebrate each Sunday different words. Such as, Love, Joy, Peace, and Hope. All of these are critical to our understanding of who JESUS is to us. He wants us to instill these attributes into our lives so we can live out the example in the world in which we live out our faith. As each Sunday in Advent we will preach and sing about these attributes. As we learn more about them we pray they will become more meaningful for each of us. Therefore, we will be inspired to tell someone else about them.
Christmas is all about giving the best gift ever given to this world away to those who need it. The Christ Child: “He is the eternal Word made flesh, the only begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. As ministering Servant He lived, suffered and died on the cross. He was buried, rose from he dead and ascended into heaven to be with the Father, from whence He shall return. He is eternal Savior and Mediator, who intercedes for us, and by Him all men will be judged.’ (Book of Discipline, p. 73).
Paul speaks of Hope in Jesus. In Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2. through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4. and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NKJV).
What has been given to us I pray you will give away this most precious time of year, called Christmas. What we believe is shown by how we live out our witness in this world. I continue to ask you to participate all you can in our church functions. You are truly missed each and every week you are not in the pew. Plus, each time you miss our offerings are down because of your absence. Therefore, as John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can”.
As we give away JESUS this Christmas season I pray you will be a Blessings to others. I would also pray for you to be searching your own hearts about the Love, Joy, Peace and Hope JESUS has given to you. Now May God use you this Christmas to teach others of this baby born to the Virgin Mary, who came to save us from our sins. Merry Christmas from our Home to yours!
In Christ Jesus,
Bro. Tony Antonelli, 2 Tim. 2:15