Christmas is not that far away. The weather made it seem like Christmas was closer that we thought. It doesn’t help that radio stations are already playing Christmas music and Hallmark Channel is once again in full Christmas movie promotion. By the time you read this, Black Friday will be over, and Christmas will be less than four weeks away.
As I write this article, I am halfway through writing our Christmas teaching series. We will look at the carols of Christmas. Some of the best truths about God are hidden in our favorite Christmas carols. Not only do they cause us to consider the Christmas story, we see the beauty of God’s plan coming into full view of the world. Learning the background of these songs will help you appreciate them more, and give greater meaning to our worship of Jesus at this time of year.
But I hope you come for more than just the story of a song. We gather on Sundays for a greater reason. As we finish our current series on the church, we see there was so much they packed into their gatherings. They learned, shared life, prayed, took communion, took care of each other, and gave praise to God. Our gathering together is more than just about me. It's more than just about what I can get out of a service. We gather for each other. The faithful come together each week to be the church.
Church is so much more than just a spiritual “pick me up”. Church is the hub around which we gain all our understanding about God, and find ways to worship him, serve together in great opportunities in our community, and love each other. This Christmas time always reminds me of the people who are barely interested in God. They believe enough not to give up on Him, but are only committed enough to come to church a few times a year. There is a part of me that gets a little cynical about that. But about the time I want to write them off, I remember…everyone has a first time they came to church and “got it”. And I don’t get to pick those moments. I wish I did. I wish you did. I wish someone would send us a note and tell us which day is the most important day for us to be at our best… best music and best message and most friendly. But no one ever warns us when that might be. And so, every week, we have a divine calling to come, because for someone this might just be the week that is the tipping point in their faith.
This might be the week that someone talks to them and they feel uncommonly drawn to come back again.
This might be the week that they are at wits end and need that prayer room for just a few moments.
This might be the week they hear just one thing that causes them to wonder so deeply that they need to know more.
This might be the week that they have another conversation in the foyer and realize that these people are becoming much more important to them then they thought.
This might be the week that they hear about a food packing event and decide on a whim to sign up – and then meet the people they will spend all of heaven with.
This might be the week that they turn around and ask just a simple question of one of us… and that simple answer could make all the difference in their life.
I would not want any of you to miss the chance to be a part of “that week” at church. Because church is not about just me. It is about what He is about to do in the people around us. And we might have a huge part to play in that. Even if we are never on a stage.
In the past couple of weeks, we have taken a few extra moments to greet or share life together during the service. I see the beauty of real fellowship forming. The week we broke down into groups and prayed for each other, people just hung out in the auditorium afterwards. People didn’t leave. More than a few times I heard comments that day, about how they met someone new or had the most incredible prayer moment, or that it was just what they needed that day. The most important, attractive element of church is the church itself – you. When the faithful come and are the church to those who are here – there is nothing like it. God doesn’t need you to come to church. He needs you to be the church. And that is needed every week.
I am looking forward to this December. Let’s be the church together.