Tag Archives: Christmas

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

AU Presents 53rd Annual Candles and Carols

A festive & full house at Reardon Auditorium for Candles & Carols.

The Anderson University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance will present the 53rd annual “Candles and Carols” Christmas concert on Friday, December 1, 2017, at 7:30 PM in Reardon Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. 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

arcadia_city_phoenix_thankyou_forweb

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

There’s a Song in the Air Over Albuquerque

albuquerque_newbeginnings_caroling_forweb

Photo: New Beginnings carolers bring guitars and other instruments.

By Carl Stagner

You don’t have to be in the Church of God very long to know we’re a singing church. We always have been. New Beginnings Church of God in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is just one example of that. The song in the air over Albuquerque today is simply a natural overflow of the song of salvation which God placed in the hearts of the believers at the thriving church situated at the base of the rugged Sandia Mountains. Their recent Christmas caroling outreach in one of the most socioeconomically challenged areas of the city is only one of numerous reasons more and more people are joining in the heavenly refrain. Continue reading

On Being Fed: A First Christmas on the Mission Field

todd_family_christmas_2016_forweb

Photo: Beth, Jonathan and Miriam Todd

By Beth Todd

Our last blog entry (which you can find at www.jbtodd.org) was about a few recipes we have come to enjoy during our first few months in Brazil. Jonathan and I are serious food people. I blame it on my wonderful cook of a mother from Georgia. Jonathan only likes two kinds of pie—hot and cold. In fact, I find that our Portuguese vocabulary grows faster in food words than others. We are still trying to learn all the names of fruits here, many of which we have never seen before. We are relearning how to feed ourselves in a place that doesn’t have the same ingredients we are used to. Continue reading

Advent in Egypt

zeke-oldham-pageant_forweb

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

CBH ViewPoint to Present Don’t-Miss Christmas Series

Christmas_CBH_2015_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

Frankenmuth, Michigan, might sound more like a Halloween town than the home of the largest Christmas store in the world. But at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the most wonderful time of the year is, in fact, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Bronner’s is also the location at which five broadcasts of CBH ViewPoint were recorded, just in time for the season! Perhaps you’ve never tuned in to ViewPoint before, or maybe it’s been awhile. Be sure to tune in to this special, don’t-miss Christmas series, which will bring peace to your soul and, at times, tears of joy to your eyes. In each broadcast you’ll discover the deeper meanings behind the majesty of the manger. Continue reading

Bulgaria: Doing Christmas Differently

Stolipinovo_Christmas2014_FORWEB

Photo: Stolipinovo Christmas 2014.

By Kathy Simpson

As we drove up to the church on Christmas night, the building appeared completely dark. Although the Turkish-speaking congregation doesn’t adhere to the Western concept of time, we were surprised that the building wasn’t open at ten minutes before the scheduled start. Then we saw a sliver of light through a gap around a window. The inside was fully illuminated, but we couldn’t tell that through the shuttered windows. No, the congregation isn’t trying to hide its light under a bushel. They are just tired of replacing broken glass. Continue reading

Christ’s Birthday Observance: A Reason to Rejoice!

Christs_Birthday_Observance_2014_FORWEB

Thank you for joining Christian Women Connection in the 2014 Christ’s Birthday Observance as we rejoiced in the birth of Christ. Together we prayed with, and for, each other through Project Prayer. We spent time in devotion and thought through the Meditation Journal. We celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ through our gifts by generously contributing to the Christ’s Birthday Observance Offering. Thank you for your prayers, devotion, and gifts. Christian Women Connection is forever grateful for the wonderful ways you and your congregation have supported the Christ’s Birthday Observance Offering and the ministry of the women in the Church of God. Continue reading

Christmas in Ecuador

bougainvillea_FORWEB

Photo: Bougainvillea plant (stock)

By Jon and Karen Lambert

Karen and I hope you are enjoying this Christmas season. Christmas in Ecuador is a bit different from the celebrations in North America. Yes, there is gift giving, Christmas trees, and some lights strung in front of houses. But other parts of the celebrations are different. Continue reading

50th Anniversary for AU’s Candles and Carols, Dec. 5

candles-and-carols_0

Photo: Candles and Carols, presented by Anderson University.

The Anderson University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance will present the annual “Candles and Carols” Christmas concert on Friday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Reardon Auditorium on the campus of Anderson University. Celebrating the 50th performance, the annual “Candles and Carols” Christmas program revives many memories for those who attend each year. Feelings of togetherness, the excitement of singing traditional Christmas hymns with thousands of friends, and hearing the familiar strains of “Silent Night” echoing through the auditorium in the glow of the candlelight encourage audience members to return to Candles and Carols each year. Continue reading

Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany

Red_Candles_FORWEB

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

Celebrating Christmas a World Away

Woman_in_India_FORWEB

By Don and Caroline Armstrong

On Christmas day in Thailand, the banks will be open, as will the post office, shops, and restaurants. About one percent of the country will celebrate Christ’s birth that day, but for most, it is just another day. And this is the case across much of Asia.

But Mrs. Chandrabati, who lives in a small village in the province of Odisha, India, is working on that. She understands the meaning of the great gift that was given that first Christmas, and she has dedicated her life to sharing what she knows. Continue reading