A PERSONAL PRAYER
There are so many broken hearts who need to know your saving love. During the Christmas season, the hurt and emptiness from loss, from betrayal, from loneliness can be overwhelming. I pray today for those who grieve, for those who have lost the ability to experience great joy or great pain, for those who live each day with overwhelming anger, for those who smile on the outside but weep in their souls. God, come and save them and heal their hearts. In the name of the coming Christ Child, I pray, Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This Sunday, December 15, is our Christmas Festival at St. Luke’s in all of our traditional services. With a full orchestra, our Chancel Choir will present a Christmas Cantata by famed composer Howard Goodall as part of the service, and the composer will be with us to conduct as well. It is an incredible treat to have him with us, and you won’t want to miss it. All three traditional services are identical, so I encourage you to come at 8:30 where more seats are available. We will continue our Advent sermon series “Savior” with a message “A Saved Heart” as we understand what it means to say Jesus is our Savior.
I hope you will consider making a gift to St. Luke’s 2019 Christmas Offering, benefitting Amazing Place, a ministry that supports people with mild to moderate dementia and their caregivers. We hope to raise $500,000 to support Amazing Place’s campaign to expand to a second location and broaden its outreach programs in the community. The prophet Isaiah says, “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hand.” (Isaiah 49:15-16) Christmas is a time to remember those most vulnerable around us, and often we focus only on children. We want to be God’s agents in helping those who struggle with the isolation of dementia to know they are not forgotten. You can find out more or make a gift or pledge here.
This week, help us deliver poinsettias to our Friends at Home who can’t get out to be a part of our Christmas celebrations. Pick one up along with a name and address, to deliver after worship this Sunday. It means so much for folks to know we haven’t forgotten them.
Come this Sunday evening to the Fellowship Hall at 5:00 for our family movie night and watch “The Star,” the story of the first Christmas told from the viewpoint of a donkey named Bo. And make sure and get Christmas Eve worship on your calendar. We have family worship at 3:00 and 4:15 in the Sanctuary, and 4:30 in the Fellowship Hall, with Holy Communion, celebrated at the 4:15 and 4:30 worship services. Traditional Candlelight Christmas Eve Communion worship is at 6:00, 8:00, and 11:00, and Contemporary Christmas Eve at 6:15 in the Fellowship Hall. Check out the whole Advent and Christmas calendar here.
If you have not had the opportunity to make a commitment to our “Giving with Gratitude” generosity campaign to support the ministries of St. Luke’s for 2020, you can do so here.
Did you miss last week’s message, “A Saved World,” on December 8? in our series “Savior!” Watch it here.
Sunday, December 15
Jesus, you lovingly laid down your life for us even though we are sinners, and you have called us to follow you as your disciples. Give us opportunities to serve others in ways that glorify you. Let us give ourselves away in generosity and service in response to your great love. Amen.
Monday, December 16
Dear God, we work so hard to make everything perfect for Christmas. Let us stop and reflect on the circumstances of the birth of Jesus. He was born to a mother who was not married at the beginning of her pregnancy in a town where there was no room for Him. It was into this imperfect world that He entered with God’s perfect gift of love for all. Thank you, God, for the perfect gift! Amen.
Tuesday, December 17
Heavenly Father, Christmas is drawing near, and there is still much work to be done. Help us to be filled with joy and excitement, giving us a childlike faith and anticipation as we await the coming of our Savior. Amen.
Wednesday, December 18 – Christmas Remembered
Dearest Father, as we focus on the birth of your son and all that Emmanuel means for this world, I confess that joy and celebration are far from my heart. Christmas time reminds us of your hope, but it also reminds me that my loved one is not here with me. Draw close to me now and create a space for me to grieve among all of the celebrating. Meet me on the outside of the party and weep with me for a while because I am not ready to go in. Then Lord, help me to find moments of unexpected joy as I navigate this Advent season, knowing that I am never alone for you are with me. Amen.
Thursday, December 19
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of Amazing Place here in Houston. We thank you for providing a place where our loved ones can receive the care that they need. We pray that you would bless those who work there to provide care for our loved ones. As we plan our Christmas offering, place it on our hearts to join you, and the great work that you are doing at Amazing Place. Amen.
Friday, December 20
God of all things good, we pray that you would open our eyes to the many ways you bless us each day. We pray that you would help us to see the good things in the world and to grow the good in others. We ask that you would bless us and encourage us. Amen.
Saturday, December 21
Heavenly Father, as we wrap gifts for our loved ones this Christmas, help us show our love of Jesus through thoughtful gifts, notes of encouragement or gratitude, and acts of kindness. Let us also experience the joy of gift-giving to those who are in need. Amen.