As another year is coming to a close, it’s wise to look over your shoulder and see the months that have quickly gone by for the purpose of seeing the faithfulness of God.  Have you counted your blessings?  Have you kept a journal of answered prayers?  Can you see by faith His unseen hand leading you, guiding you through the year?  This is a call for Thanksgiving, and to be sure for some in the congregation this has been the most difficult year of their life!  The reality of suffering and pain, the emptiness of such loss is almost indescribable.  How do people move forward with such difficulty?  By keeping the right perspective that God knows the big picture.  We may never see it or understand it completely until we are home in heaven.  So we look, see and give thanks that He loves us in the challenges of life.  Yes, for the Christian, this is a wonderful time to refocus on who God is, what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do for His people!  Let us join the Pilgrims of yesteryear and, in the midst of trial, give glory to God for He is worthy!

Now, when considering how the times have changed but God has not, it should put a smile on our face to just think of what the Pilgrims would have to say about Black Friday.  Yes, it is upon us again; the pushing, the shoving, the pulling, the camping out all night to get that desired item.  As God’s people, may the chaos that often comes with this time of year push us right into the arms of Jesus.  As a matter of faith, look to Him who is the source of all blessings that satisfy the soul and remember God’s greatest gift to a lost world.  Should the year be so difficult that you can’t see more than the loss?  Then, as Christmas will soon be knocking at the door, let the true meaning of the season warm your heart and comfort your soul.

One of the finest definitions of Christmas is found in this quote by John MacArthur who says, “Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told: Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant’s head, with sparkling eyes and eager mouth, was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die.”  Yes, this is why He came.  And as hard as it is to read that quote, it is the true essence of Christmas.  He did come to die, but in that death He gives eternal life to all who will receive this gift of all gifts.  This is how the Christian stays focused year round:  By faith, fixing our eyes on Him who loves us with an everlasting love.  So let’s be found with hearts of thanksgiving. And as Vance Havner says, “Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts, the gift of God to man – His unspeakable gift of His Son, and the gift of man to God – when we present our bodies as a living sacrifice.”  This is the best way to close out the old year and start the new one, by giving thanks.  And as we give thanks to God for His Son, let us give ourselves afresh and anew for His service.

The Crutchfield’s want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  May the true meaning of Christmas give you Hope.

Merry Christmas!

Pastor David, Janna, Jonathan, Daniel, Anna, Nathanael, Elizabeth and Malachi