Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Advent Community Meals

We are going to be more intentional in our community meals through December to communicate what motivates us. The idea is to facilitate (simple)workshops during/after the meal to discover a deeper understanding of Christmas. Thus far we have meals scheduled at 5:30 on Nov 30, Dec 7, and Dec 14.

One of the growth groups from Good Shepherd that has been supporting us in ministry put together a flier that we can hand out to those who attend. The text is as follows:

Discovering the Christmas Story
During the Christmas season, it can be hard to discovery what the holiday is all about. There is a combination of messages. On the one hand we have a celebration of full shopping malls and bright decorations. On the other hand we have a celebration of the birth of Jesus, which took place 2,000 years ago. How do these stories go together? Do they go together at all?
Even though Christmas sometimes seems to be about presents, trees, and eggnog, it is originally the story of God coming into the word to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus came to be God-with-us (Matthew 1:23). The New Testament says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” This is the true Christmas story. It is about God leaving behind comfort and riches, in order to sacrifice Himself for needy people.

Reflecting the Christmas Story
Every Christmas can be an opportunity to choose which Christmas story we will celebrate. While there is nothing bad about presents, trees, and lights, these things are not important for the real Christmas story. Instead of focusing on these, we can ask ourselves how we can reflect the true Christmas story by seeking to give ourselves away so that others might benefit.
First of all, God invites all people everywhere to come to Him and to experience forgiveness for sins and peace with Him through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Christmas can be a time of celebration in worshiping God and thanking Him for all His goodness and grace.
Secondly, Christmas can be a time of not simply giving gifts to our loved ones, but also in following Jesus’ example by giving away our time and energy and attention. Instead of simply giving gifts to one another, we can spend time together, whether that means making cookies or taking a trip to Pioneer Square to eat a sack lunch.
Thirdly, Christmas can be a time to follow Jesus’ example by showing kindness to those who are in need. This may mean anything from providing a meal for someone who could benefit from it, to spending less on presents and giving some money to a charity.

Entering the Christmas Story at Barberry Village
The story about Jesus giving Himself away in order to benefit others is the story that is behind the weekly meals that have taken place at Barberry Village. The purpose is not only to provide a free meal for anyone who would benefit from this, but also to give an opportunity for people in the apartment complex to get to know one another and to experience community, just as Jesus Christ left behind the comforts of heaven in order to be with people who He deeply loved.
The story of Christmas, however, is not just a story for the month of December, but for the entire year. Please join us for these community meals, as they will continue after Christmas. And may God richly bless you during this Christmas season.

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