It’s that time of the year.  The turkey, dressing, and gravy were terrific but now our sights are set on something much bigger – CHRISTMAS!  Suddenly, the music in stores has changed, decorations are being put up, lights are popping up everywhere, and the season of Christmas takes us by storm.  Unfortunately, so much emphasis is put on the buying of gifts that Christmas can really get lost in all of the hoopla.

So it’s really important that we keep our focus on the real joy of the season.  During Advent this year, you will notice that our Prayer of the Day as we begin worship includes the phrase “stir up” each week.  Advent is a time to literally stir our spirits in this exciting season, reminding us that Christ is here now and Christ will come again.

So this year, when someone asks you, “Are you ready for Christmas?”  Even though they probably mean, is your shopping complete or your home ready for guests or travel plans in place, maybe we could surprise them with something much more.  We could say, “Yes, I am so ready for Christ to stir my spirit and lead me into new ways of loving my neighbor.”  We could say, “Yes, I’m so ready to hear that wonderful story again – how God came into this broken world.”   We could say, “Yes, isn’t it great to be reminded just how deeply we are loved by our creator and redeemer!”

This year at Salem we will once again be returning to Valley Mission to share the Christmas story.  Once again, our children and the children at Valley Mission will act out the story of Christmas together as they dress up as Magi, shepherds, sheep, and angels.  Once again, we will sing carols together.  Once again, we will hear this special and holy story and pray together.  Once again, we will not be bringing any presents to give away, but simply to share the story.

So our worship on December 23rd at 11 am will not take place here in our sanctuary, but out there, with our brothers and sisters at Valley Mission.  It’s one more way to “stir us” toward what really matters during Advent and Christmas – it’s all about Jesus.



Pastor Derek