What words come to mind when you think about the Christmas season? Presents? family? food? tinsel? Santa? In a Christian context, the word that stands out beyond all of the others is Love. From Love comes every facet of the ‘Christmas spirit’: giving, sharing, compassion, stillness, joy, peace, goodwill… And throughout the Bible, Jesus provides us with a flawless example of perfect Love.
At Realife this year, our Christmas service was nothing short of heartwarming. You walked in past the foyer to see very trendy, minimalistic Christmas trees peppered along the edge of the seats in the auditorium. The lights were on, the stage was set, and the atmosphere was electric and intimate.
The morning began with a stirring moment of worship, as the lights on the trees flickered and danced to the chorus of Shine on Us, originally by Bethel Music. And not only were there twirling lights on the trees, but there were also some brand new light displays bouncing off small panels above the stage which made the entire house come alive. This was not purely for show. This was to celebrate Jesus:
‘Shine, shine, shine like the sun,
You're waking us to life,
You've only begun.
Every fear, every doubt disappears
When You shine on us…’
What a way to not only declare the majesty of Christmas but also to usher in the New Year!
Next came a video following kids telling the story of Christmas in their own innocent, pure and honest way, and then, amongst more worship an enchanting spectacle was revealed off of the stage: the music team formed an intimate gathering on the floor, amongst the congregation.. and to top it off; a tree made completely of fairy lights! You can’t get more festive than anything covered in fairy lights.
Then came another moving video, and then the Word. What a Word! Pastor E shared a short, but hard-hitting and extremely moving, message. His opening question was this: ‘What would honour Jesus the most?’ In other words, what should we as Christians be doing during this Christmas season (but certainly not only in the one season) to glorify God the way that He set out for us to?
The answer was simple: put others before yourself. Love them the way you love you. Share and give freely and joyfully, as hard as it may be. When reading on these sorts of ideas in the Bible, we sometimes keep them in words and don’t put them into practice. However, Ps E was telling us that just as God gave us His Son, became nothing for us, made Himself empty for us and saved us from His own righteous justice, the Lord tells us to give our whole self and all of our own affections away and give them – now, here’s the important part – not to Him, but to others. That is worth far, far more than the $520 million we spend on unwanted presents.
To hear the sermon in full, which I can’t recommend more that you do (even if you’ve heard it before), you can download it from [this link].
Following the message, we had festive desserts and sweets and fellowship, and the kids had their own crafting station. Christmas music resounded in everyone’s heads and the spirit of joy swam through the crowds.
So, a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Realife Church! We know that great things are in store for your 2017 and ours, so we wish you peace and blessings and love to accompany you in this new season.
That’s all we want for Christmas.
God bless you!
Emma J. Ware