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The Christmas Story & How to Share it.

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Every year I try to make Christmas more meaningful, build our families traditions and promise myself this year I’m going to simply focus on the real reason for the season. Instead, I end up with a gift shopping list that includes everyone from my kids to 3rd cousins once removed. It includes white elephant and as seen on TV gift exchanges where the gifts will end up in a closet never to be seen again. I’m over scheduled running from one event to the next, rushing through greetings and goodbyes.
 
 
Have you ever wondered, is this how Jesus would celebrate? Can you imagine Jesus camping out to get the last Hatchimal for a child that has a play room full of toys? Or picture him rushing out the door of one party to get to the next? 
 
 
This year I have been challenged with that thought. I imagine Jesus would celebrate by giving generously, and not so his children have everything they've asked from Santa. I think Jesus would take the time to be true with the people around him not checking his watch to jet off to the next thing. How different would my Christmas look if it looked a little more like Jesus’? 
 
 
What if this year I bought less stuff and spent more time with the people I love? What if I gave generously to people and met real needs? What if this year was about quality, not quantity? 
What if sharing the story of Christmas wasn’t told through a play or a book, but it was told by the way we live out our lives this season? 
 
 
I was in India this past October and was able to visit the home of Gandhi. One of his quotes was hung above his bed; “My life is my message.” What if this Christmas instead of getting swept away in the whirlwind of busy schedules, traffic jams, and spending we paused we let the Christmas story be told through our actions. Open the door for others to know Jesus because they see his peace and generosity in your life. Tell God’s amazing love story by celebrating Christmas this year the way Jesus would. 

The Holidays Aren't Always “Merry and Bright”

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Friends, as we sit in the midst of the Christmas season, it’s impossible to escape the constant chatter and excited hubbub around us.  And for many of us, maybe the holidays are a time of full hearts and memory making.  But ya’ll, that simply is not the reality for everyone.  

You may be heading into Christmas feeling lonely and dark.  Maybe this is your first year without a beloved parent, child, or spouse by your side.  Maybe it’s yet another year of unfulfilled longing for a family of your own.  Or maybe you’re caring for a loved one in their last days.  Because despite how “unfair” it may feel, life, death, and heartache don’t slow down for the holidays.

If you’re in the joy-filled camp, please remember your friends who may be having a harder time this season.  Make space for quality time in the midst of the hustle and bustle or invite them to celebrate some of your traditions with you.  And most importantly, have empathy for those who are having a harder time.  Brené Brown captures empathy and how to do it perfectly in this short clip

WATCH HERE

And friends, if you’re on the other side of that coin, and every moment hurts, hear me.  You are not alone.  Seek out that person who will make room for you at their family table.  Plug in to your Life Group’s activities or look for ways to engage and serve here at E91.  Seek Jesus in this season and I promise, he’ll be seeking you.

Still feeling alone and hurting?  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  At E91 we’re ready to meet you where you are.  We have a counseling center with a staff ready to walk with you and assist you through hard moments.  We also have a Stephen Ministry with lay leaders who are trained to listen and respond in trying times.  And if you’re dealing with something else, like a broken marriage or overcoming addiction, we’re prepared to enter into that with you too. For more information regarding resources, visit east91st.org or email .

In the midst of what can be difficult season, we encourage you to join us. Our worship experiences are no strings attached and we would like to merely give you a place to find refuge. Join us this December at 10:05 each Sunday and specifically at 4 & 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Remember, never to go at it alone.

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