In this issue: RCL Notes / Christmas List
December is a very busy month for most of us. There is shopping and baking to do in anticipation of holiday parties. Families with children are preparing for winter break. Plans are being made to host relatives and friends who are coming to town for a visit. In all of the busyness and excitement of these events, it is easy to forget the real meaning of the season.                                                                 

We recognize the four weeks that precede the feast of Christmas as the Advent season. The name derives from the Latin adventus , which means “arrival” or “coming.” Thus, Advent is a time of waiting in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah into the world. But which coming? The obvious answer is the incarnation of Jesus Christ and His birth in Bethlehem of Judea. In this sense, then, we can think of Christmas, the culmination of the Advent season, as a “looking back” in gratitude for the gift God gave us in His Son.
The Sunday Scripture readings for Advent overflow with references to an eager anticipation of things to come. Take, for example, the Fourth Sunday of Advent where we hear Micah proclaim the prophecy about tiny Bethlehem’s destiny as the place and the people from which the Messiah shall come to shepherd God’s holy ones and bring peace to the land (Micah 5:2-5). Likewise, in the Gospel reading, we hear Mary’s song of praise for the tenderness of God’s love that had been showered upon His lowly servant in making her the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:46-55).
But Advent is not just about looking back in time to the incarnation of God’s Son in that little town of Bethlehem. Read more .

Catherine Cory, Ph.D. / Theological Council Member
Show your teacher or class how much you appreciate them with the perfect stocking stuffer! For great ideas, check out Crossways International's  Christmas List !
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This is a time for joy. 

This month, we prepare for and celebrate the coming of the Messiah in great anticipation of His coming again. We wait for it, we hope for it, we believe in it. In many ways, the seasons of the year reflect the seasons of our souls. We begin, we grow, we flourish, we reduce, we retreat and we celebrate, every year. Christ’s coming into the world brings out in many of us a very different season—one of joy, one of celebration and one of reflection on the year left behind. Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything. We begin a new year soon, with new hopes, new dreams, new beginnings. 

In the same way, Crossways International (CI) is beginning again. 

The Board of Directors has cast a vision for CI as a premier publishing house providing biblically based and theologically sound books, materials and training worldwide to advance the Kingdom of God. Our Mission is to Reach, Teach and Transform Lives. Our message has not changed, only our method of delivery; and by necessity.

The men and women who serve on the Board of Directors of CI recognized that change was and is necessary for CI to continue to fulfill its mission. Because of the Board’s dedication to extending the life of the ministry, CI is living out a significant transformation.

As I write these words, CI is in the process of moving out of its offices and migrating to a virtual, web-based online presence. Whereas up to this point, Crossways International has had its own warehouse fulfillment team and stored its own inventory in Minneapolis, times have changed.  Read more .

Your sister in the Risen Christ,

Kate Silvas
Executive Director
The Board of Directors and staff are grateful for all who donated and supported Crossways International ® this Give to the Max Day! Many organizations depend on donors like you to help achieve their goals and meet their needs for the coming year, and we're no different.
Give to the Max Day was created to help support the great work of Minnesota nonprofits and schools and was a success again this year. Thank you!
Harry Wendt

" When was Jesus born? Luke writes, 'Joseph went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child' (2:5). It is unlikely that Joseph would have asked Mary to make the long journey south if she were already eight months pregnant. Nowhere does the text say that she rode a donkey. Nowhere does it say that Jesus was born the night they arrived. ” 

Read the Rev. Dr. Wendt's December 2018 Revised Common Lectionary Notes .
Crossways International ® (CI) is looking for followers of Christ who would like to become Members of CI. A Member is a follower of Jesus who is willing and able to commit time, talent, and treasure to enhance, expand, and extend Crossways International's mission and ministry, and is eligible to serve on the Board of Directors and elect two members of the Board annually. Please click on the below link to access the application.
A new, online resource is now available to teachers of any Crossways International course. Simply log onto Facebook, search for "Crossways International Instructors" and request access to the group. Moderators will grant access upon request.

This closed Facebook group is devoted to answering questions and providing additional support to make the most of your teaching experience in order to better serve your students. We look forward to this opportunity to engage with you in a new and meaningful way.  

Psalm 113:2-4

2  Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore.
3   From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. 4   The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.

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See the birth of Jesus in a new light with A Clear View of the Birth of Jesus DVD ,

Dr. Kenneth Bailey reveals a fresh perspective in four lectures about the manger, Joseph's ancestors, the wise men, Herod and Simeon.
Almighty and great God, Creator and Lord of all, You sent Your Son to live a sinless, servant life on this earth, and to give up His life on a cross. As we now ponder the wonder of His conception and birth, empower us to understand and embrace the meaning of these events for our own lives. May the message of the heavenly hosts continue to inspire us. May we proclaim constantly the Good News of Jesus' birth as did the shepherds of old. Amen. (From Christmas: The Real Story leader's manual)