Tates Creek Christian Church

Updates and Insights from Tates Creek Christian Church

Archive for the tag “Classic Christmas”

The Wonder – Micah 5:2 & Isaiah 53

On December 25th, we Christians again joyfully celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, the promised Messiah, foretold by the Old Testament prophets.  Since Jesus’ humble arrival in a stable in the little town of Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, Christians have been remembering the Jesus coming into the world into the world following his immaculate conception in his mother’s womb by the Holy Spirit of God, the Father. Incredibly, God’s plan for Jesus to come into the world as a newborn baby and to grow into maturity as a simple Nazarene carpenter trained by his earthly father Joseph. However, at age 30, Jesus began his fateful 3 year ministry that would seemingly end with his death on a Roman cross in Jerusalem. Amazingly, through the power of God, he was physically resurrected 3 days later and appeared to, ate with, and was touched by his disciples, and other followers.  The Apostle Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians that his resurrection was witnessed by over 500 Christian followers over a period of 40 days before ascending to heaven to return to His Father God. Many of those witnesses would go on to die a martyr’s death rather than to deny what they had witnessed.

The revelation of God’s plan for our salvation is full of many wonders.  Perhaps the first of those is that God revealed His Son’s humble birth through his prophets 700 years previously, including specifics in their prophecies that accurately predicted the coming of the Messiah. Micah, Chapter 5: 2 records that “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will rule over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times”.  What Micah was predicting was that the promised eternal King in David’s line, who would come to live as a man, had been alive forever, ‘from of old, of ancient times’.  The prophet Isaiah, a contemporary of Micah,  in his chapter 53 details that indeed Jesus would be a suffering servant. Indeed, the ultimate “wonder” in Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection is that God loved us enough to prepare a plan of salvation for those who would believe in Jesus’ divinity that would require His Son to suffer and die as an atonement of the sins of the world.

Ed Hall

Classic Christmas

When I think about our sermon series title for the month of December called “Classic Christmas”, it reminds me of years gone by and long standing Christmas traditions. Maybe for you these traditions include a meal, Christmas caroling, certain family members, a Christmas Eve Candlelight service, or some other special person or event. For some when we think about our “Classic Christmas” or ideal Christmas, it brings about warm fuzzy feelings. For some though, when we think about Christmas, it can bring feelings of sadness and dread.

Maybe at one time in your life you had those warm fuzzy thoughts of time spent with family, your spouse, your children, and your friends. But maybe now you’ve lost a child or a parent. Maybe you lost a close friend this year, or maybe you lost your spouse. There is nothing quite as haunting as the thought of that empty space that will be like a huge elephant in the room when the holidays roll around. Maybe you dread the holidays now because of the loss of someone. Maybe this will be your first Christmas without them.

As many of you know, I have gone through a divorce this past year. I can’t even begin to describe how horribly painful it has been. Where I once had wonderful memories of years gone by, and excited expectation for the Christmas season, it has now been replaced with dread. That empty space left behind seems to scream so loudly and bring so much pain to the surface that I can hardly focus on anything else.

If you are in this boat I am praying for you. I am thinking about you this Christmas. And while I won’t be able to expect Christmas to look the same as it always has for my family, I can focus on the story that was written 2000 years ago, the story of that miraculous baby boy who came to save all of mankind. That story will never change, and it will never cease to give me that warm and fuzzy feeling. I will do my best to focus on that story this Christmas.

Mike Allen

Christmas – The Gift

I have said it before, and will probably say it again each year… I love Christmas!! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Along with the carol singing, the reminder to slow down in life and enjoy the people with which God has surrounded you, and the traditions and decorations, there comes a reminder that Jesus is always the reason for every season! I don’t think I am selfish to say that I enjoy receiving gifts each year. I still remember my favorite Christmas gift. I was eight years old and was given my first guitar (which I still have in one piece). I remember the odd shape it had standing next to the tree, and knew exactly what it was. Even though I still have the guitar and have purchased several other cheap ones, I still struggle to play a song! I remember the Christmas that my family couldn’t afford to give gifts that were purchased, so we gave gifts that were customized for the receiver. I remember the Reds hat my grandmother bought for me at a yard sale and gave to me for Christmas. It still had the last owners name, number, and address in the bill of the hat. Years later, this story won me 30 new Christian CD’s from a Christian radio station. There were also Christmases that hold very special memories like when a loved one was no longer present for the family get together or the first Christmas Terah and I shared together as we tried to navigate between 2 strong, traditional, ‘everyone should be together on the day’, families. I also remember the best gift I ever gave Terah – a new set of wrenches and some oil for her car. (Don’t judge me.) Then there was each Christmas we had with our children for their “firsts” and how different it was for Onah and Marie as compared to Colten and Izzy. I remember the first time our team raised funds for the kids in Liberia to receive gifts for Christmas, and the JME school doing an “Ornaments for Orphans” drive to help raise money. Finally, I remember going into a home in Indiana that was piled high with gifts for nearly every child in the family, but one child had been dropped at the doorstep on Christmas Eve and would soon have nothing. This was special because other families had gone together to surprise the little guy with his best Christmas.
Why do I remember these so well? I remember them because they were chosen in love. I remember them because when I think about them and the love they included I can’t help but think of a gift much more important. A gift that the world had waited for many years to arrive. A gift that when grown, would turn the world upside down and change the future for you and me! A gift that we celebrate today, tomorrow, and for all eternity! From my family to yours this season enjoy THE GIFT OF JESUS!

Matt Lee

The Gift – Romans 3:24

“And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that
came by Christ Jesus.”

“The Gift” – A phrase that prompts so many different and conflicting feelings. From “now I have to go shopping and buy someone something they probably don’t need” to “wow, someone I love has made me a gift”.
Gifts from the “Classic Christmas” of yesteryear were more practical and functional than those we will probably exchange this year. But gifts from any period of time require effort and planning. On our mission to find a gift we ask questions, go shopping from store to store, or scour the websites in search of the “perfect” gift. But none of these mass produced, store bought, or even home-made loving gifts we share on this earth compares to “the GIFT” from God. He sent his ONLY Son Jesus to this earth to be born as a baby, grow into a man, and die a Savior. What more could we ask for? Well there is more: His gift comes with some lifelong perks. Jesus died for us, washed away our sins, gave us the opportunity of eternal life in heaven, and showed us how to be Christians that love others.
However, like some gifts in today’s world, there is a small catch. To accept God’s gift we have to respond. We have to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we have to believe and be baptized into him. We also need to live the life of a Christian and love and lead others to Him.
Remember during this wonderful time of Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the verse from John 3:16 (NIV)
“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.”
Gifts from each other can be a blessing and a demonstration of love, but even the most beautiful wrapped gift under our tree does not equal the gift from God. So don’t hesitate to accept “the Gift”. Also, don’t be bashful about sharing it with others.

Larry Bugg

Preschool Update

The Christmas season is one of those times during the year for which people all over the world are preparing at the same time. While not everyone celebrates in exactly the same way, we all have a main focal point-the birth of our Savior. This year the children of our church are
performing a musical ‘Chris-Myth Busters’ that is a bit different from those you might remember. We will be discussing things that *gasp* might not be true about the Christmas story! It’s definitely an eye opener for the children who are learning the play (my daughter included). I have a feeling there are some adults out there that may have to check their Bibles a time or two as well. I hope that you will come and join us on December 18, to see this really fun event with a great message.

Lesley Tipton

Christmas Memories

What words would you use to describe Christmas? The list of words may be endless. Here are a few: ‘joy,’ ‘peace,’ ‘anticipation,’ ‘fun,’ ‘family,’ ‘home,’ ‘friends,’ ‘memories,’ ‘Christ,’ ‘Church,’ and ‘gift.’ These words speak to the anticipation of Christmas. Christmas is the favorite time of year for many. I say, “Many,” because not everyone looks forward to Christmas, like they once did. When certain things change in our lives, we may dread Christmas. Our goal may simply be just to get through the holidays. Since my Dad passed away, I have mixed thoughts and feelings about Christmas. I am learning to have empathy for people who no longer look forward to Christmas; they actually dread the holidays. I still look forward to Christmas. And now, with grandchildren, Christmas holds lots of anticipation. However, the chords of sadness still play in my heart and draw me back to precious memories with Dad at Christmas time. I am very thankful for all those memories. I am also sad for others who have lost loved ones; or for those whose family life has changed because of divorce, the loss of a job, or the loss of what used to be a great friendship. I wish I could take away their sadness, their hurt, and their loneliness. But I cannot take away any of those things.
However, I do know the One who is quite capable of doing that. Jesus Christ is the One who is capable of taking away the sadness, the hurt, and the loneliness. He takes away those things by providing the gift of eternal life. With the gift of eternal life, Jesus provides tremendous anticipation and joy! John describes great anticipation in Revelation 21:4, “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Another verse that helps us to understand the meaning of eternal life is John 17:3, which says, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” The gift of eternal life is available right now! We are able to experience that great gift right now! A restored relationship with God is the reason Jesus came the first time. A restored relationship with God is the gift that Jesus provided the very first Christmas! While some of our heart chords may tone sadness during the holidays, Jesus changes those chords to ring joy ~ for all eternity!
Jesus is the source of joy at Christmas!

Tommy Simpson

The Glory – Luke 2:25-35

Here we find a story about a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. The Book of Luke tells us that Simeon was righteous and devout, waiting on the consolation of Jerusalem. The people of Israel had been suffering for years due to their own sins, from being oppressed by other nations, and by being overrun by anyone who thought they had a claim to the strategic location for which the Jewish capital sat. Simeon had been given a promise by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the consolation of his people. This meant the years of suffering by the Jewish people would finally be over.

The moment Simeon held the baby Jesus in his hands a flood of emotions ran through him, for he knew then that the promise the Holy Spirit made to him so many years ago was finally being fulfilled. How many times in life have you been waiting for God to answer your prayers? Do you remember how you felt when it finally happened? The feeling of elation that God finally answered your prayers. On a number of occasions I have experienced this. It was only when I gave up my selfish wants and emptied my soul to the will of God that things started to happen. That’s what God was telling Simeon when he said that he would witness the consolation of Israel. The birth of Jesus meant that the Jewish people had finally given over their selfish ways and were ready to receive Gods’ glory.

I ask each one of you reading this passage to take a moment and empty yourself to the glory of God and see what blessings begin to flow through you. Simeon was completely devoted to God and through Simeon God blessed his people. Now imagine for a moment that if each one of you gave yourself over to Gods’ glory what could be accomplished in his name. The glory of God is never ending, all you have to do is trust him.

Lucas Moore

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

I cannot think of Christmas without associating the event of Christ’s birth with music! Whether it is remembering a children’s concert where those participating are wearing scratchy, uncomfortable costumes while struggling to remember their lines, or listening to a familiar Christmas cantata by the local church choir wearing robes, we can all go back in our memories and fondly remember sharing those experiences with our family and church friends. We all offered our best efforts.
Then, as I grew up, I was accompanying the choir on the piano. That was followed by singing in college choirs and presenting more difficult Christmas music to hundreds of people who made the drive to the city of Cincinnati to enjoy the celebrations provided by all the college choirs and instrumentalists. Again, those are memories engrained in my mind and heart. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.
Now, for the past 40 years, I have been directing choirs and orchestras in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and for the past 12 years in Kentucky. The pleasure of leading those hundreds of singers and instrumentalists fills my heart and soul with joy. In addition, I have enjoyed seeing and listening to countless Christmas concerts presented in churches, orchestra halls, and college campuses as I always try to attend at least two concerts in local venues. Yes, Christmas and music are inseparable for me.
It seems that most people are open to hearing about Jesus and His love through Christmas music! That is why we encourage you to attend our Christmas concerts and more importantly invite friends to join you. You will find most people will join you and they will be blessed. Here are the opportunities for our congregation and friends this year:

Annual Christmas Collage ~ December 11 at 4:00 PM
Including the Worship Choir, T3CPO,
Rejoicing Ringers, Worship Ensemble, and some Special Guests!

Chris-Myth Busters ~ December 18 at 5:30 PM, MMC
Children’s Ministry Presents their Annual Christmas Musical

Christmas Eve Worship ~ December 24 at 4:30 & 6:30 PM
Our services will conclude with communion & candlelight.

Come back on Christmas Day for one worship service at 9:30 AM.

Don Seevers

Giving is the Gift

As Christmas is just around the corner, I find myself reminiscing about those best Christmases from the past, the earliest being my 5th Christmas. I remember it sparsely as it has been many, many, MANY years ago, but I remember two things clearly. The first is the Lionel train set that was underneath the tree. My memory of that is very clear, even down to the corner of the room where the Christmas tree was setting in our home in Michigan. My second memory of that Christmas is all three of us children being lined up to take a spoonful of castor oil before we went to my Aunt’s house. One thing I don’t remember is why we had to ingest that awful stuff. I suppose it was viewed by my mother as being good for us, but perhaps it was to protect us from my Aunt’s cooking. Either way, it was done with fingers closing our noses. I remember that being when I was 5 years old because the following month we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was a memorable time in my life. I don’t remember how old I was when I got the erector set for Christmas, nor do I remember how old I was when the chemistry set was under the tree, but I remember building endless things with the erector set and conducting many experiments with the chemistry set.

As I have grown older the memorable Christmases have become not about things received, but of things given, like the year I gave my
son-in-law golf clubs for Christmas. I remember giving him those clubs every time we go golfing and he hits the ball straighter, farther, and more accurately than I. Not to mention, he always has a better score. Think about this for a moment. The major difference between giving and receiving is the fact that giving costs us something while receiving doesn’t. Just like with my son in law. I always tease him about me buying his clubs for him only to have him show me up. Those clubs cost him nothing but they cost me not just the initial investment, but also continuing humiliation when we golf together! No, that’s not the case. In reality I gave him those clubs and I submit to always being beaten because I love my son-in-law. I enjoy seeing him do what he enjoys doing. That’s the difference between giving and receiving. Receiving is enjoying the blessing ourselves while giving enjoys seeing others blessed.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul speaks about when we are children we act like children and think like children, but in growing up and putting away childish things, we think and act differently. Paul was speaking of the need to grow up spiritually, and the transition from Christmas being about receiving to being about giving is that type of maturity. We all like to receive gifts, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but we are living in a culture that is increasingly all about self-entitlement and I can assure you there is little reward in the end. Nothing there can ever compare to the blessing I have in golfing with my son-in-law, and now seeing my granddaughter being a budding golfer on her high school team. Where is the cost to me? Where is the humiliation to me? It is all erased by the joy of giving! Friends, those chemicals in that chemistry set have long since been used up, and the parts and pieces of that erector set have long since been lost. Even the Lionel train set, save for this purpose, has long since been forgotten. But the blessing received by a gift given continues to be mine! I urge you not to miss such a blessing this season….the blessing of giving rather than receiving.

Kim Beckwith

The Light – Matthew 2:1-12

“We Three Kings”
Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Matthew is the only gospel that speaks of an extraordinary celestial event. A star which led the Magi to Jesus. Magi were often understood as “wise men” but may be more accurately described as astronomers/astrologists and they certainly understood Biblical prophecies. Astrology was considered the science of the day. Yet any form of divination was forbidden in scripture. It’s curious that the Magi were the only ones to see the star when everyone else seemed unaware. More important, the Magi understood the significance of the star.
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” Matthew 2:10
The star was made for the very purpose of leading the Magi to Jesus. When following the star to Jerusalem they expected to find the new King in Herod’s palace. King Herod was troubled by the visitors and threatened by the news. Herod was protective of his power and jealous of any potential rivals. Herod instructs the Magi, “when you have found Him, bring word back back to me, so that I may go and worship Him”. Matthew 2:8
The Magi continue their journey to Bethlehem following the star until it “stood over where the young child was”. Matthew 2:9
Matthew doesn’t specify how many Magi traveled but it is assumed only three because of the famous three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It’s likely that the Magi traveled in a large caravan. After paying respect to Jesus, the child born as the King of the Jews, they traveled on never to be heard from again. Perhaps home to Persia, Babylon, or anywhere in the Middle East, without reporting to Herod. If we didn’t have this account of the Magi by Matthew, I doubt we would have our gift giving traditions of today.

Becky Child

Post Navigation