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From the Pastor's Desk

"This Christmas, I'll start shopping earlier. This Christmas, we'll visit all the relatives. This Christmas, I'll find that missing box of decorations. This year, I'll bake the cookies from scratch. This year, we're going to do Christmas right."

Do these promises sound familiar? Have you ever gone in search of the real spirit of Christmas? It is for you! Christmas seasons come and go, often leaving us with vague pains of regret. Why does the Christmas spirit seem so elusive? What is it anyway? Even those who know the Reason for the season can find themselves wondering if they've missed something.

Familiarity can rob us of the glory of Christmas. We become immune to the story's real power. What do we do when it doesn't feel like Christmas?

Beyond the trappings and trimmings, we move into the wonder of the best Gift of the season, the essence of Christmas. The real Christmas spirit is a deep-seated, lingering joy in knowing that the story is true! Remove the trees, lights, poinsettias, candles, decorations, presents, food, and music, and the story is still there. We fall to bow at the manger, and we worship! The search is over. Let the rejoicing begin!

Be a keeper of Christmas. The true keepers of Christmas are those who, when the holiday excitement is over, remain just as firmly committed to the joy of the risen Messiah as ever. Spiritual passion is not a once a year event for them. For them, Christmas is never over, the celebration never ends, and the wonder never wears off. Before you dismantle the tree, pack away the decorations, and close the chapter on this year's Christmas story, think about how you will keep the Christmas flame burning bright all year long.

-Pastors Mark and Jennifer

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