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Christmas Letter 2016

Merry Christmas! The cold stayed away for a while but we finally have some nice Christmas weather. While it does mean cold, it is nice to see the changing of the seasons and the snow that comes at this time of the year. It is absolutely stunning to see the snow cling to the trees and how the snow puts a fresh, clean blanket on the ground. And you cannot beat a cup of hot chocolate all bundled up next to the fireplace when snow is softly falling outside.

These are warm thoughts at this time of the year. But the warmest thought we can remind ourselves is how Jesus came into this world born as a baby in a lowly manger. There was no fanfare, just shepherds who were in the right place at the right time to hear the angel's announcement. There was no parade, just the lines of people who had to register in their hometowns because of a government mandated census. And even the first gifts given had to be a bit perplexing for a mere child to be given. Jesus came in such meager beginnings and yet God's plan was intricate, enormous, powerful, wonderful, and incomprehensible to our minds. God's plans for Jesus' life was anything but meager. Jesus was born to bring peace to this world; He was born to die for us.

You see, Jesus' birth is just the beginning of what we come to celebrate as having Emmanuel—God with us. Jesus was God in flesh who lived on this earth to fulfill all righteousness (Rom. 8:1-4). As He approached the conclusion of His life He chose to bear the sin and punishment that you and I deserve (Isaiah 53:4, 5). He died for us. But He did not remain in the grave, instead Jesus rose from the dead to life to offer us new life with God forever (1 Cor. 15:3, 4)! We would be remiss if we approach this time of the year and only remember Jesus' birth without recollecting everything Jesus has done for us!

Every year we look forward to our fabulous Youth Christmas Musical. This year, on December 18th, the youth will present "Miracle on Main Street". The youth will be sharing the message of Christmas to us during our morning worship service at 10:45 am. Afterwards, we want to invite everyone to join us for a lunch as we celebrate Christ birth and the job well done by the youth. This year Christmas is on a Sunday, but we will still have our Candlelight service on Saturday, December 24th at 5:00 pm. We look forward to this time of singing, sharing, and remembering the gift of Jesus. Please join us!

Our Christmas gift this year will go to three different ministries. The first $900 will be going to the Missions in Bolivia for the Children's Ministry. The rest will be divided equally to Prison Mission Association and to help cover the cost of the furnace replacement at our North Branch campus. Please consider giving to these worthy causes!

Pastor Brent Befus

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