Seeking the Gift of Christmas (Part 4)

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,

Before concluding the series “Seeking the Gift of Christmas,” (which we interrupted last week to describe our worship changes), let me simply remind you of what I wrote about last week.  In order to ensure that everyone can attend at least twice a month, the Elders have adopted a hybrid model of worship.

One week will be the registration model, which requires everyone to pre-register, is open to both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, but is limited to a maximum of 50 people.  The next week will be the 2G model, which does not have a maximum attendance, but is limited to those with proof of vaccination or of recovery from the virus.  (Please see last week’s Newsletter for a fuller explanation.)

While this means that every week there will be some who cannot attend, it is the only way that everyone can attend at least twice a month.  Thank you for understanding!  We hope and pray we will soon be able to return to our normal worship routine.  The schedule for January is as follows:

Jan. 2 – Registration

Jan. 9 – 2G

Jan. 16 – Registration

Jan. 23 – 2G

Jan. 30 – Registration

And now the conclusion of the Advent series.

We’ve seen that like the Magi and the shepherds, the ones who seek after Jesus find him and then go on to experience all the good gifts God gives us through Christ.  We’ve already considered two of those gifts: the gift of forgiveness and the gift of peace.  Today we will look at one more gift that is ours through the coming of Christ, and that is eternal life.

This is underscored by what is certainly the most well-known verse in the Bible, Jn. 3:16, which reads,  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  

Our time in this world is so short.  Even if we live 80, 90, or 100 years, those years fly by.  Our life in this world, regardless of how many years we live, is but a tiny fraction of our existence.  For God did not create us to live merely 80, 90, or 100 years; God created us to live eternally.  That is God’s gift to us, for the One who was born in Bethlehem was God the Son taking on our humanity, who would around 33 years later also take on our sin at the cross.  Because of that, we are forgiven and we can live with the sure promise of eternal life.

Now, it’s important to note that in the Bible, eternal life is related not only to time.  It doesn’t simply mean a life that never comes to an end.  Eternal life also has to do with the quality of life we will experience in the presence of God.  It will be a life in which we will behold the very presence of the all-perfect, all-holy God.  We will experience the fullness of His love.  It will be a life free from sorrow, pain, and tears.  It is a life in which its goodness and joy will surpass anything we can imagine.  And it will never end!

At Christmas, it is customary to give gifts to others.  But God has given us the greatest gifts – first the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and then all the other incredible gifts that come through Him.  Because of God’s gifts through Christmas, may your life be marked by deep gratitude to God, and abounding joy in His goodness.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bob

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