A Christmas Update from Pastor Gary

Christmas Greetings to You Dear Friend,

It was 55 years ago at age 10, that I had a memorable role in our church Christmas program/play. The plot was about a young boy who had never gone to church or heard the Christmas story, who then wandered into a church at Christmas time. He had his first experience, not only seeing the inside of a church, but seeing a manger scene, hearing Christmas carols, and hearing the Christmas story read. That experience changed him. I had the privilege of acting out that boy, while others read the parts of my thoughts and words, and acted out the Christmas story. I can still remember the feeling of walking down that aisle in tattered street clothes (in a church full of people in their Sunday best), kicking a pew, hiding behind the pulpit, and various other activities, that eventually led to bowing at a manger scene. It was an original play written by our creative pastor, Eugene Baisden, that communicated a life changing truth… That

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. That message changed lives in the first century, and has continued to change lives ever since. It is a message of hope and life that speaks of God’s great love for all of us, and His grace that freely offers us forgiveness and salvation.

You likely have some Christmas memories also, maybe good and bad. You may have memories that warm your heart and make you smile, but you may also have some memories of tears and difficult Christmas seasons. Perhaps you are experiencing one of those this year. Whatever our situation this Christmas, and the emotions around it, the message of Christmas is still the same. It is a message of hope eternal, because of God’s great love for us, demonstrated in the sending of Jesus into this world. And it is likely that Christmas 2020 will hold some unique remembrances for each of us in this year of the COVID pandemic.

Just as the outworking of our regular church worship services have been different this year, so also our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will be different. There are four possible scenarios in which you may worship with us for this special time of remembering and celebrating. We will have two live candlelight services on Christmas Eve, at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve is traditionally a time where church attendance is at an all time high, but not this year. Many of you will choose to worship with us at home, watching the livestream of the online services, or the recorded service later. With limited seating in the Terrace Shores Sanctuary (With every other pew left empty), the number who are able to worship in the sanctuary Christmas Eve are far less than normal. There is some overflow seating for the live feed of the service, in our church basement also. But one other unique possibility this year, is to worship with us in your car in the County Park parking lot, next to Terrace Shores. Both services will be livestreamed on the internet, and also broadcast close range on 91.3 FM. One of our pastors will be there to greet you and give out bulletins. And weather permitting for any who choose, while you listen on your car radio, we will invite you to get out of your car to join us in singing outside, a few of the Christmas carols. If you worship with us for this ‘parking lot’ service, please bring a flashlight, both to help you read your song sheet, and perhaps also for the candle lighting time. This will undoubtedly be an experience to remember!

If your first choice is to worship live in the Terrace Shores building, we hope you will be flexible with us if there is not space available (Just identify with Mary and Joseph who found the inn was full! :-). The online service at home or the FM radio service in our County Park lot next to church, will have space. Whichever way you choose to worship with us on Christmas Eve (At home online, in the TS sanctuary, in the TS basement overflow, or in your car in the County Park lot next to TS), we hope that this time of worship will be memorable and meaningful for us each. For the message we celebrate, displays the love of God for every person. May His great love continue to change us daily and flow through us to this world that so desperately needs Him. Thanks for understanding. Have a blessed and meaningful Christmas!

Grace and Peace,

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