When we care about someone, there are so many little ways we show that we care. There are so many ways that, even without words, we say, "whatever you're going through, I'm with you."

We say it when we show up at our grandchild's Christmas program.
We say it when we hold hands during a scary movie.
We say it through supportive teamwork at the office.
We say it by cheering from the stands of a youth sports game.
We say it when we bring food to new parents or a grieving friend.
We say it in a midday text to someone we love: "I'm with you, even though we're not together."
This time of year, we say it through gifts: "I'm with you, even if we are far apart."
In a hug when there simply are no words and when no one can fix whatever is broken, we say "I'm with you."

At Christmas, God shows up for us and says, "I'm with you."

God says it when God becomes one of us: "I'm with you, as one of you."
God says it when God comes in the middle of a mess - a pregnant teenager and a scared new dad with nowhere to sleep - and shows that holiness can happen anywhere: "I'm with you, in the middle of your complicated situations."
God says it by announcing the news to lowly shepherds first: "I'm with all people, especially those who are not powerful in the eyes of the world."
God says it in wise visitors from the East, bearing kingly gifts: "I'm with all people, from near and far."
God says it even to the animals in the barn: "I'm with you, too, and you will be the first witnesses of this world-changing birth."
God says it in Herod's fears: "I'm with you, and I will make your oppressors shake in their boots."
God says it in so many ways, in every corner of the Christmas story, and in the countless stories that follow - the stories of the people of God in the Bible, and the stories that we are living today, as God's people in this time and place.

God is with us. God is with you, whether you are overjoyed this Christmas or struggling. In this baby, God becomes one of us, showing up for us in every way. In life, in death, and everywhere in between and forevermore.

Join us Sunday, as we celebrate Immanuel, God with Us.

Merry Christmas!
Pastor Marsha

This Sunday's Morning Readings
Isaiah 9:2-7
Micah 5:2-5a
Luke 2:1-7
Luke 2:8-16
Matthew 2:1-11
John 1:1-14

Christmas Eve 
  • Lessons & Carols at 9:30 am - Join us for Lessons and Carols worship, our one worship service on this morning. Stay after the service to help decorate the Sanctuary for Christmas Eve and enjoy refreshments together!
  • Christmas Eve Worship at 5:00 pm - Come celebrate the birth of Christ at our family service.
  • Christmas Eve Worship at 7:00 & 9:00 pm - Come celebrate the birth of Christ at our candlelight worship services.

The third week of Advent is about God's people on the move, shaking things up in their community. Fill your Advent Festival rice bowl, or any container, with loose change. On Sunday, December 24, bring your bowl to the 9:30 am worship service and place in front of the altar. All the change will be donated to Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds affordable housing in communities around the world.

The church office will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, December 25 and 26. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 31 at 9:30 am - Come worship with us as we prepare to welcome the new year. This will be our only worship service on this day.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements.
The December edition of The Shepherd's Voice is available online.
Health and healing  for Pastor David Sloop; Kim Spencer; Nancy Blank; Molly Mahoney; Ron Vinick; Zachary Weigand; and the Gould family, friends of the O'Neill family.

Thanksgiving for this Sunday's baptism of Zoey Marie Faeth, daughter of Adam and Erin Faeth.

Sympathy  to the family and friends of Don Stohler, friend of Taryn Peachey, and Shirley Ann Roagman, Woodie Ischer's aunt.

For the orphans of Mnene Parish, including Tsamani (Sam) Sigono and Trevor Ndlovu.

Sam, 23, attends Midlands State University, pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Shona, hoping to become a teacher.  In January he will begin a year of "attachment" teaching at Mnene Boarding School. He was chosen by his peers to be their representative on the Mnene Orphan Committee. Sam's Mail For Mnene partners are the Brimhall family & Grace Ann Chirico.

Trevor is 20 and attends Mnene boarding school where he runs track and sings in the choir.  He recently took his final exams for "O"-level classes.   He realizes what a privilege is afforded him to be able to attend school through the GSLC support program.  His Mail For Mnene partner is the Cash family.
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