What an amazing night we had this past Sunday as the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra, the Kid’s Worship Arts Program, and the Youth presented “Christmas at Tabernacle.” It was a marvelous time that kicked off this Advent season with a wonderful reminder about the greatest Christmas gift of all: Jesus. If you missed it this year, then be sure to put it as a “must-see” for next year. We still have two large worship events coming up with the Silent Lord’s Supper Service on Sunday, December 23, and our family Christmas Eve Service on Monday, December 24. Both events are at 5:00 pm, so be sure to bring your family, some neighbors, and maybe a few friends.
 
This past Wednesday evening, we held our Annual Staff Christmas party. It was a lovely time as we loaded up buses and went on a Progressive Dinner (Thank you to all of the Sunday School classes who contributed food and for the hosts who opened their homes to the dozens of us!). Naturally, the night culminated in that now sacred Christmas tradition – the White Elephant Gift Exchange. If you are unfamiliar with the tradition, everyone brings a wrapped gift (often of the gag variety) which are opened in a sequential order by participants. The best part of the game is that it is the only time of year that Christians condone stealing! At any point, whoever’s turn it is can choose to either pick a new gift to unwrap or steal another person’s already opened gift. Tons of fun, right? Wally Dedman, Dave Mercier, and myself stole from each other a combined 9 times by my count. In the end, I was very happy to end up with a “Magic Eight-Ball” toy, which will make all of the church’s decisions significantly easier in the coming years.
 
We had a great time! The game caused me to think about the prominence of stealing during this time of year. Isn’t it great to know that the gift we celebrate this Christmas time cannot be stolen away? Jesus came to offer a sure way of salvation for each one of us. Throughout the Advent season, we celebrate four parts of His promise that cannot be taken away: Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. Jesus’ arrival meant an enduring presence of God’s spirit and the cultivation of these four things in your life. Don’t let anyone steal the gift of Christmas from you this year. Let’s celebrate the Prince of Peace in whom we find eternal comfort.
 
Expecting His Best,
 
Stephen V. Allen
Senior Pastor