Tag Archives: Advent

From the Archives: The Annual Christmas Rush

By Gary L. Kendall

Christmastime always brings a mixture of emotions for me. I love to celebrate the Lord’s birth and it is a thrill to see so many catch God’s spirit of giving. People seem to smile more, laugh more easily, and enjoy life more in general during this season. But life always takes on a hectic side, too, with packed parking lots, people standing impatiently in checkout lines, and advertisers rudely taking advantage of our generosity. Unfortunately, this frantic flurry often overshadows that little town of Bethlehem lying so still and peaceful, nestled back in the hills. Continue reading

Christ’s Birthday Observance 2018: Great Joy for All

By Shelly Short

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” —Luke 2:10 NIV

Advent is a time for adoring Jesus, waiting, watching, and having hopeful expectations. We remember the first coming of Jesus, we celebrate his presence among us, and we pray for his glorious return. One of the ways Christian Women Connection helps you keep Jesus at the center of the Christmas season is by offering a meditation journal and prayer guide. Dive into his living Word each day and come away with something to feed your joy. We live in tumultuous times filled with uncertainties. As we celebrate Christ’s birthday, remember he is our source of living water and can quench all our thirst. Continue reading

CWC Today: Standing in the Gap for All Women (and Men, Too!)

CWC’s Arnetta Bailey and Global Strategy’s Colleen Stevenson.

By Carl Stagner

Women were among the earliest pioneers of the Church of God movement, and some of our most outstanding preachers have been, and continue to be, women. In spite of such a rich history dating back to the beginning, not to mention the wealth of biblical support, women—both pastors and laypeople—have not always been given the same opportunities as men. But since 1932, women of the Church of God have rallied together to stand in the gap, not only providing necessary care to countless missionaries, but also being a voice for Christian women everywhere. Though the name of the affiliated agency of the Church of God is different now than it was then, Christian Women Connection’s timeless mission has remained the same, returning to its roots even more in recent years. Still, many men and women are unaware of the incredible depth of vital ministry made possible by CWC today. A recent interview with CWC executive director Arnetta McNeese Bailey takes us behind the manger scenes and beyond the sewing circles to discover there’s far more to CWC than you may know. Continue reading

Christmas Across the Church of God

Crossroads Church (Yuba City, CA) drive-through nativity (& more!).

By Carl Stagner

The Christmas season is upon us; a quick glance at the social media of a handful of Church of God congregations suggests we are a Movement that knows how to celebrate! Certainly, the birth of Jesus gives us many reasons to celebrate, and that celebration has taken the form of hanging of the greens services, advent readings and candlelighting, choral cantatas, Christmas pageants, caroling, dinners (also known as potlucks, pitch-ins, and carry-ins!), and much, much more. Because the gift of Jesus is meant to be shared with as many people as possible, Church of God congregations have come up with a variety of creative means to share the reason for the season. A number of churches have already reported lives won to Christ, too! The following are just a few of the ways Church of God congregations are celebrating. Continue reading

From the Archives: Christmas—A Divine Mission Statement

By Arlo Newell

Christians too often view the Christmas celebration as excessive commercialism. Deluged by advertising and pressured by promotion, we find it extremely difficult to discover the true meaning of the season.

It was while crying over this commercialization of the Christmas season that I was convicted to look for the good and the positive rather than to criticize. I began by giving thanks for the beauty of the season. I began by giving thanks for the beauty of the season. Lights become more meaningful in the dark, depressive days of December. The contrast makes them more distinct and the cold, crisp winter air allows the sound of silver bells to be heard more clearly. And who can fail to experience the joy of children as they anticipate this most magical of all holidays; laughter fills the air as they live in a world of expectancy. Even in the ringing of the Salvation Army bell and the iron kettle help to accentuate the carols sung by choral groups along the street. Continue reading

Kentucky Congregation Puts Community First this Christmas

First Church group distributes a “blessing bag.”

By Megan DeBruyn

As the days grow chillier and the Advent season unfolds before us, many churches launch a special sermon series or begin lighting a symbolic candle each week. But First Church of God in Winchester, Kentucky, is hitting the streets. Why? Because they believe in being the church rather than simply coming to church. Continue reading

Christ’s Birthday Observance Readies the Church of God for Christmas

By Shelly Short

The word Advent is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” The Advent season lasts for four Sundays. This year’s Advent begins on Sunday, December 3, and, as always, ends on Sunday, December 24. The Advent celebration is both a commemoration of Christ’s first coming and an anticipation of his second coming. As Israel longed for their Messiah to come, so Christians long for their Savior to come again. Please join Christian Women Connection for the 2017 Christ’s Birthday Observance as we celebrate the birth of Christ collectively and say, “Come Lord Jesus.” Continue reading

Christmas Outreach Brings Snow to the Desert

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Photo: Crowds gathered at Arcadia City Church for the snow day!

By Carl Stagner

When the mercury was pushing 110 degrees this summer, Arcadia City Church in Phoenix, Arizona, was dreaming about a winter wonderland. They weren’t going to get it from the sky, however; the last time an inch of snow fell in Phoenix was 1937. They also weren’t planning on a two-hour trek up to Flagstaff high in the mountains north of the Valley of the Sun. But they were thinking about hiring a company that grinds one-ton bags of ice cubes into “snow” as the perfect Christmastime outreach for their community. Continue reading

Advent in Egypt

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Photo: Zeke Oldham (far left) plays role of son of the “wise family.”

By Ken Oldham

While winter sets in for most of the United States, it is becoming winter here in Cairo, too, though it does not have the same look or feel. The colder temperatures swept into the city this week, dropping us momentarily into the 60-degree range; this came with the first bursts of rainfall this year, then heavy winds and dust storms. The temperatures will get cooler in the next couple months, but it is already cold inside, as homes are built to release heat. Continue reading

Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany

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By MaryAnn Hawkins

Most of us are now familiar with the season of Advent: the four Sundays before Christmas. During these four weeks we often have musicals and Christmas specials. But do we celebrate Advent? The word advent simply means “a coming into being.” It might be likened to a journey with the anticipation of a special event. Through the ages the church has understood the dual “comings,” the anticipatory journey toward the birth of the Christ, and the second coming Christ at the end of the age. The advent season should give a pause in reflecting on the end of time. How shall we anticipate the second Advent of our Lord? Continue reading