Dec. 20,  2019 
Our Savior Lutheran Ministries
Ministry Messenger
Holiday Edition

Our Ministry Vision   
Rooted in Grace.  
Growing in Faith.  
Serving with Joy!

Celebrate Christmas with Us!
We would love to have you and your family celebrate the birth of Jesus with us this season!  Join us Christmas Eve, December 24, at either 7pm or 10pm for Candlelight worship, and again on Christmas morning at 10am.

May God bless you as you take time to ponder the wonder of the incarnation.
Christmas Reflection
About 10 years ago, I ran across a book called Advent Conspiracy that was written by three pastors who were struggling with the idea of Christmas and how easy it is to let consumerism take over. They recognized that Advent was meant to be a season of preparing our hearts and minds to celebrate Christ's coming at Christmas but also an anticipation of that day when Christ would come again. The sad reality is that for many of us Advent is more filled with to-do lists and activities that keep us so busy that it is way too easy to lose sight of why we are doing all of these wonderful things.
Within the book, we are invited to do four things: worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. I must confess, I love these four ideas and believe they are at the heart of Christmas. Let's ponder these ideas for a moment and I'll give you my take.
Worship fully. Think back to the Christmas story. You know the characters. You know the story. But have you ever stopped and considered: what was each of the character's reactions to Christmas? Each were led to worship in their own way. Mary's worship was humble submission to God's plan and marveling at this child that had been born to her. The angel's worship was through announcing to a field full of fearful shepherds that Christ, their Savior and Our Savior, had been born. The shepherd left their field to go and see and worship Christ, the newborn king. The wise men travelled a long distance to go and worship Jesus not only with their presence but with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Those were there responses. How about you? How will you worship Christ our Savior and King who came and is coming again? How does this story of Jesus lead you to worship him full, not just on Sunday morning or Christmas Eve, but with your life?
Spend less. On the surface this seems like a full frontal attack on consumerism and buying gifts. That's not where my heart is coming from on this at all.   But, if you are a parent or a grandparent, what are some of the most valuable gifts that you ever received? My guess is that it's not the ones that cost the most. It's the ones that your kids made in preschool. What makes those so valuable? The love that is behind them. The person who gave them. What's my point? You don't have to drain your bank account or max out your credit cards to have a beautiful Christmas. Give gifts that you want to give to people that you want to give them to (not gifts out of guilt or obligation to people you hardly know) that come from a heart of love. You don't have to spend a ton of cash to communicate your love this Christmas. What if you were to take one gift of obligation off of your list this Christmas? What if instead of buying a fruitcake or a gift card or more stuff you were to make someone on your list something that really matters, something from the heart?
Give more. This one goes hand in hand with the last one. It doesn't take a lot of cash to give an awesome gift. What if instead of giving a present, we gave presence? What if instead of being concerned about stuff, we were focused on spending time together and creating shared experiences? I have to admit this idea did not originate in my own mind, but in the mind of God. As God gave us the greatest gift that we would ever receive on Christmas, he didn't give us a partridge in a pear tree or a gift card or a sweater that we couldn't wait to return. What did God give? He gave us the gift of His Son. He left Heaven to come and be with us. He entered into our story to do life together with us. God gave us the gift of his presence. If then our gifts, albeit in small ways, are a reflection of that first gift that Christ gave us, then how can our gifts be personal? How can our gifts be relational? Instead of just giving something, what if instead we were to give ourselves and invest in the other person.
Love All. If Christmas is anything, it is the love of God for us. If you want to know the heart of Christmas, look no further than the baby in the manger where we hear the love of God in the baby's cry and see the love of God in the baby laying wrapped in swaddling cloths. Christmas is a season to love all. How can we this Christmas turn our attention and harness our energies to love all those people whom God has placed around us? Love our family. Love our extended families. Love the grumpy guy at the end of the block who personifies the spirit of Scrooge. Honestly, I already see you doing this in the way you treat one another, especially during the past few weeks. You have loved those in our community who are the most vulnerable through an awesome contribution of food and socks. 301 kiddos were loved around the world by getting Christmas for the first time because of your filling a shoe box. Christmas is definitely a time to share the love.
I don't necessarily agree with everything in Advent Conspiracy, but I do love the four ideas: worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and would challenge you to think about these four ideas. What one will you focus on this Christmas season?
-- Pastor Kevin
Christmas Caroling
Bring your voices and Christmas cheer on Sunday, December 22nd as we carol to homebound members of the Our Savior community. Meet at 4:00pm in the Fireside Room. Pizza dinner after!

If you can help out by providing a batch of home-baked goodies, please drop them off in the Ministry Center kitchen Sunday morning, or by 3:30pm that afternoon. We will prepare trays of treats to take with us as we carol.
Thank You for your Help!
A big thank you to all who brought in food and sock donations for our local pantries.  We collected about 100 bags of food and dozens of pairs of socks!  Donations were taken to  Open Heart Kitchen, the Tri-Valley Food Pantry, and Interfaith Sharing, all located here in Livermore. It all goes a long way to help those who need it.

We will continue to collect socks -- all kinds and sizes -- through January for a Thrivent-sponsored p
roject.  Look for a specially marked box beginning January 29. Contact Laura Gong with any questions.

Help during the Holidays
As we go into the Christmas season, many have great joy and some experience sorrow and sadness.  There can be many reasons for sadness.  Loss of a loved one. Loss of a job. Illness short or long term. There may be other circumstances that cause sorrow.
There is good news. There is a way to start to feel better once again.  The solution is to have a Stephen Minister visit you.  Our Stephen Ministers are well trained men and women who can provide a person words of comfort support and understanding.
They are here to help show the afflicted person the way to feel better.  If you may be one of the persons who is suffering, please contact us as we welcome the opportunity to minister to you.  Our contact person is Jann  Cheim, 925-642-8269.
We are sending you our best wishes for a Merry Christmas season.  Remember the reason for the season, The birth of Jesus Christ.
December Preschool Highlights
Preschool had a wonderful month celebrating the birth of Jesus through the eyes of a child. We dressed as sheep and followed the shepherds in search of Jesus. We read a magnificent book called The Giving Manger and learned how by serving others and giving to others our hearts get happy. We followed Jesus' example and every time we were found doing something good, we were able to put straw in the manger to get it ready for baby Jesus. We practiced singing like angles all month to help tell the story of Christmas to family and friends at our Advent service. We hope that you will join us in giving and serving others and singing like angels as we begin a new year.
Wednesdays in the Word
COMING SOON: Wednesdays in the Word

We invite you to join us for a new midweek Bible Study led by Pastor Kevin on Wednesdays at 7pm.  Our first study will be called "Grace At Work" as we take a look at the little book of Titus.  The first Wednesday will be January 8th.  
Altar Guild Members Needed
Please prayerfully consider learning how to prepare communion and set up the altar for Sunday Service. The Altar Guild has lost members and now needs help to continue providing for weekly communion. Make an appointment with Susan Contreras to be trained by calling 925-462-3753. Thank you.
Do You Quilt?
Please join us to quilt tops, backs or tie the quilts for Lutheran World Relief. We meet every Wednesday in Room 19 from 1-5 pm. If you want to work at home, we can provide you with fabric from the room and the exact specifications needed for the LWR Quilts. If you have spare cotton fabric to share we would love to have it. 

Last year we made 67 quilts and hope to give glory to God by doing as many this coming year.  Call Susan Contreras at 925-462-3753 with any questions.
A letter from Karen Poppe,
OSLM Resource Teacher and Office Assistant

Dear Our Savior Community,

I wanted to share with all of you that before the end of the upcoming year, I plan to move to IL to be near my parents. A lower cost of living is another important part of it.

I moved here in 1992 and have matured in this place. Thank you for all the warmth, teamwork, prayers, and support that you have all given. Your friendship is very special to me and I will miss you. I have enjoyed every position entrusted to me. It has been SUCH fun to be librarian! I get to know all the kids and help them with an experience they look forward to.

I will be putting my town home on the market next month and will move when it sells. Until then I will continue to serve you here. God has been faithful to me in all circumstances-especially the hard ones-and He remains faithful in this time as well. I know I can entrust you all to His care while we are apart. Pray for me driving across country with 2 cats.

God bless you all,
Miss Karen Poppe
Board News
October Meeting Minutes
Click here  to read Minutes from the November Board of Directors Meeting. Click the following links to read the attachments to the Minutes.

Save the Date!
Semi-Annual Voters' Assembly, January 19, 10:30am 
News from Our Missionaries
Click here to read the latest newsletter from Janet Volkman, serving in Guatemala.

Click here to read Rachel Meyer's winter newsletter, updating us on her work in Uganda.

Please pray regularly for both of these amazing ladies and the work each is doing to spread God's message of love.
Holiday Office Hours
The office will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25th and New Year's Day, January 1st.  

Office hours for the other days between December 23rd and January 3rd will be 9am-3pm.