The Witness
Volume 39, Issue 49
December 8, 2021
"Our Christmas List"
This week as I was driving and listening to Christmas music, I heard a familiar song entitled “My Grown Up Christmas List.” This song was written by Linda Thompson-Jenner and composed by David Foster in 1990 for Natalie Cole’s album River of Love. It did not become popular until Amy Grant released her version in 1992 on her album Home for Christmas. Out of all of the Christmas carols I enjoy this time of year, “My Grown Up Christmas List” is not typically one of my favorites; it falls into the same category as “The Christmas Shoes.” Both have a good message, but the songs themselves are sad and gloomy. Rather than the joy of Christmas, these songs fill me with what Elvis called a Blue Christmas.

And yet, Thompson-Jenner’s words did challenge me to pause and consider, what is on my grown-up Christmas list? If Santa really could make anything for me, what would I ask him to bring? According to Thompson-Jenner, topping her list is: “No more lives torn apart, That wars would never start, And time would heal all hearts; And everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win, And love would never end.” As she goes on to describe, this is her list, “not for herself, but for a world in need.” Her greatest desire for Christmas is not only a gift that would make her life better, but one that would make the world better.

Thankfully, as Christians, we have a name for the gift that has the power to make the world better, and it is the one after whom Christmas is named. Through Jesus the Christ, broken lives can be restored, conflicts can be resolved, and hearts can be healed; through Jesus, everyone does have a friend, right will ultimately win, and love will never end. Jesus is the reason the angel assured the shepherds they did not need to be afraid; he is what the angel declared to be “good news of great joy for all people.” When a world in need asked God for help, hope, and healing, the birth of Jesus was the gift God provided.

However, just as something was required of Mary and Joseph in order to bring this gift into the world two thousand years ago, I believe Christians have a similar responsibility today. In response to the angel, Matthew records that “when Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him (Matthew 1:24).” Similarly, after Gabriel appeared to Mary and shared with her the impossible, Luke records that Mary responded by declaring: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word (Luke 2:38).”

Just as Jesus is the answer to Thompson-Jenner’s “Grown Up Christmas List,” what if Mary and Joseph’s response to Jesus is the answer to God’s Christmas list? As biblical scholar and commentator Ashley Cook Cleere writes, “Maybe Mary’s response conveys God’s Christmas wish, that followers of Christ will believe that nothing is impossible with God, and invite the Holy Spirit to work through them to attain miracles.” If Jesus is the answer to our Christmas list, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be the answer to God’s Christmas list. Through Christ, our lives are made better; through our faithful response to Christ, the world is made better. For “as children we believe the grandest sight to see was something lovely wrapped beneath the tree; but heaven only knows that packages and bows can never heal a hurting human soul.” Through Jesus, God revealed his lifelong wish, his grown-up Christmas list, which is to bring help, hope, and healing to a world in need. How can we be more like Mary and Joseph, active and responsive to God’s call—God’s Christmas wish for us?
Sunday Worship, December 12th
The Third Sunday of Advent
Christmas Musical
Please plan to join us for worship this Sunday at 8:45 or 11:00 AM (Sunday School at 9:50 AM). The Chancel Choir will present this year's Christmas musical, "The Road to Bethlehem," at both services. If you choose to worship virtually, please access our livestream through our website or FB live.
Parents of Children's Worship Kids:
Please note that we have our annual Christmas musical during both worship services this Sunday. We will not have Children's Worship, but kids are encouraged to be in the service and enjoy the music! Keep an eye out for a worship packet that they can use during the service.
Art from the Heart
Art from the Heart will take place THIS Sunday, 4:00 - 5:00 PM in the gym. Please note that we will not have a pizza dinner or CIA this month, but we hope you will join us for an afternoon of art, fellowship, and fun snacks!
Bible in a Year Reading
Read this week:
The Old Testament: 2 Chronicles 5-12
The New Testament: 2 John; 3 John; Jude
Old Testament Prophecy: Habakkuk; Zephaniah
Gospels: Luke 19-24
Meditate: 17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:17-18
Prayer: As we look toward the 3rd Sunday of Advent, may we all remember to be joyful in God our Savior as Habakkuk wrote. My favorite Christmas song this season is Phil Wickham’s “Joy to the World (Joyful, Joyful)” from The Chosen’s Christmas special. I hope it fills you with JOY this Christmas season!
Ministry Matters Tonight &
Upcoming Wednesday Night Dinners
Tonight we will have a Ministry Matters meeting in lieu of Adult Bible Study. Thrive Youth Group, Children's Choirs, and adult choir rehearsals will take place at their usual times. After tonight, we only have one more Wednesday Night Dinner this month (there will be no activities December 22nd and 29th):
December 15th - Christmas Dinner: Ham, Aunt Pat's Potatoes, Green Beans, Rolls, & Holiday Desserts. Iced tea, coffee, lemonade, & water are available every Wednesday. Costs are $6/adult, $5/child (ages 4-12), children <4 are free, max per household is $18. Sign up by calling the church office at 540-343-7685 no later than 5 PM the day prior to dinner. We cannot take late registrations.
JOY Seniors Trip to Attic Theater
REMINDER: If you signed up for this Saturday's day trip to Attic Theater and Bellacino's, we will depart the VBC parking lot at 1:30 PM. Please contact Barbara Shutt with any questions.
Thrive Student Ministry
Thank you so much to everyone who came out to support our Christmas Craft and Vendor Fair this past Sunday! Our students and preteens worked hard all afternoon lifting boxes, offering hospitality to vendors, wrapping gifts, working concessions and the silent auction, and doing some shopping too! We are so grateful for the support of the vendors from our church and community who spent their afternoon in support of our student ministries. Thank you thank you!!
Upcoming Dates:
Regular Schedule: Wednesdays, 12/8 and 12/15; Sunday, 12/12
Sunday, December 19th: Progressive Dinner at 5:30pm -Bring a gift for our Christmas gift exchange. Return to the church around 8:00pm.
Monday, December 20th: Provide dinner for the Children’s Shelter at the Rescue Mission -meet at the church at 3:45pm. We will keep you updated through text on return time. 
Children's Christmas Boxes
Christmas boxes are available on the first floor of the children's wing for pickup. If you cannot come in to get your box, please contact Sarah to arrange a delivery. Be sure to follow along on our children's Facebook page for information about the activities in the package!
Preteens Christmas Event
Preteens meet on December 19th for their Christmas party! Meet at the church at 4:00 PM to take the church bus for a surprise evening! Parents, be sure to check your email and The Witness for more updates in the coming week.
Invite your family and friends
to this year's Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, which will
be held in our sanctuary. We
hope you will come and
celebrate the Savior with us!
December 26th & January 2nd Worship
  • On Sunday, December 26th we will NOT have Sunday School, and we will have one combined worship service at 10:30 AM. There will be no evening activities.
  • On Sunday, January 2nd we WILL have Sunday School at 9:15 AM, and we will have one combined worship service at 10:30 AM. There will be no evening activities.
  • As of Sunday, January 9th, we plan to be back to our regular morning and evening schedules.
Sandra Williams
Park Oak Grove
4920 Woodmar Drive SW, Apt. 204
Roanoke VA 24018
December 5, 2021:
8:45 AM
In person - 175
Online - 152
11:00 AM
In person - 173
Online - 81
Sunday School - 219
End-of-Year Giving & Office Hours
All envelope and in-person offerings/tithes must be received in the church office before 12:00 PM on Tuesday, December 28th to be counted toward your giving for 2021. Any offerings received after that time will be counted toward your giving in 2022. Online gifts can be made through December 31st and will still be counted for 2021. If you have any questions, please contact the church office.

Please note that the church office will be closed Friday, December 24th and Monday, December 27th in observance of the Christmas holiday, as well as Friday, December 31st in observance of the New Year's holiday. There will be no Witness published the last week of December.
Lottie Moon Post Office
The Lottie Moon Post Office is available at the Missions Tables as an option for "mailing" your Christmas cards to church members 25 cents/card. All proceeds benefit the Lottie Moon Foreign Missions Offering. Members, please check the post office for cards.
Children's Volunteers Are Needed
Children's Worship volunteers are needed every Sunday. Thanks to all those who regularly help out. A new volunteer sign-up has been created, with dates through January. The new year is a great time to get involved in a new ministry!! Please click here to sign up.
The Giving Tree (formerly "Angel Tree")
REMINDER: The deadline to return Giving Tree gifts is next Monday, December 13th so that we can distribute them before school closes for Christmas break. Please be sure to return your wrapped gifts with the tag number written on (or attached to) each gift so that we can ensure that the correct child receives your gifts. Thank you so much for making a child's Christmas brighter in the name of Jesus Christ.
"Be a Piece of the Puzzle" Adoption Fundraiser for Joseph and Kristi Miller
Joseph and Kristi Miller have struggled for many years with infertility. After much prayer and discernment, they plan to welcome a child into their home, not grown inside or by them, but grown in their hearts. They are excited to see where God takes their family, made of abundant love.

Could you be a piece of the puzzle that brings a child into a home filled with God’s love? You can purchase a piece of their adoption fundraiser puzzle, available in the church lobby, for a donation of $5 (or more!) per piece. Donations can be made via cash or check/online donation to Vinton Baptist Church with the memo line: Puzzle Adoption Fundraiser for Joseph and Kristi Miller. Begin putting the puzzle together as a symbol of our support for the Millers. Once the puzzle is complete, new baby Miller will have a puzzle hanging as a reminder of the love this community shares for their family.
"Check Out" These New Books in the Library:
A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson, The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin, Dear Santa by Debbie Macomber, Christmas Promise by Richard Paul Evans, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas.
I just wanted to thank [Whitney] and the youth and preteens for the wonderful time I had [Sunday]. It was so good to see such an awesome group of young people taking care of everyone and offering to bring snacks and drinks . . . May God continue to bless you as you lead these precious children.
Love, Alice Summers (vendor at the Craft & Vendor Show)
A huge thanks to all who donated dish towels for use in the kitchen. You are a blessing!
Kathi Costigan
Dear Vinton Baptist Church,
Thank you for honoring my grandmother, Nancy Lee, by gifting the lovely plant to my grandpa, Clinton. I'm so glad he has a caring church family. It meant a lot to him and our whole family to receive a tangible representation of your care. Thank you so much.
In Christ, Molly (Western) MacDonald
Dear Vinton Baptist Church Family,
On behalf of myself, Clinton, and his entire family, we thank you very much for the beautiful flower for Nancy Lee's funeral.
Love, Larry Western (Clinton's son)