"Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation."- Psalm 35:9
One of the things that I absolutely love at the Christmas season is the "Joy Overload" we experience. There is the overload of beautiful decorations that adorn the homes, streets, and shopping centers in our neighborhood. There is the full array of Christmas songs that warm our hearts with nostalgic melodies and meaningful lyrics. There is the stack of photo greeting cards that communicate the treasure we have in family and friends. There is the full schedule of Christmas classics on the tube we watch year after year, kindling childhood memories and family traditions.
Another form of the Christmas overload experience has to be the treats, tasty delights, and holiday goodies we get to enjoy every December. The pumpkin pies of November give way to egg nog, snicker-doodle , and gingerbread houses. Even in my forties I still love seeing the stores displaying cookies shaped like stockings, trees, and snowmen! Even my wife Joanie gets a special sugar rush in this season, dishing up some delicious pecans coated in sugar and spices. Okay time to stop talking about treats before I head to the closest candy store!
As we come to the close of the Year of Delight for our church family, I am reminded of how this theme is sprinkled throughout the Christmas story:
* Mary delights in seeing God's miracle announcement confirmed.
Luke 1:46-47- "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
* The angel brings a message of delight to shepherds in the fields.
Luke 2:9- "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people."
* The shepherds return from their visiting Baby Jesus with very full hearts of delight.
Luke 2:20- "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."
* The wise men delight in arriving to the place Jesus was after many miles of travel.
Matthew 2:10- "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed."
*Simeon experiences the delight of fulfillment when Jesus was brought to the temple.
Luke 2:28- "Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God..."
* Anna the prophet delights in her declaration of the Messiah.
Luke 2:38- "Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were looking to the redemption of Jerusalem."
With this being the last Sunday of 2015, I want to continue the DELIGHT Christmas chorus as we look back at some of the very special things the Lord has done over the year:
We are delighting in the NEW LIFE in our church family:
We welcomed twenty one new members to The Shepherd's House.
Four families experienced the gift of a new baby.
We are delighting in moving closer to a NEW HOME:
In the fall we accepted an offer from Manna (The Conejo Valley Food Pantry) and are now preparing to move to a new place in 2016.
The Lord has brought an increase in attendance and finances as we continue to make room for more!
We are delighting in the NEW EXPRESSIONS of faith and worship that took place:
A summer Kids Church Baptism Party
A special pre-service worship and prayer time ("Encounter Jesus")
Quarterly family events that included special dinners, water baptism, and worship nights.
The gift of Mynor and Christina Marroquin becoming the pastors of our Spanish Ministry.
We are delighting in the NEW HOPE that became sight for those who passed away in 2015. These dear saints impacted our church family in ways far beyond words can express:
Pastor Mike Crowley
As we conclude the Christmas season and the Year of Delight all we can say is...
THANK YOU JESUS!
WE LOVE YOU!
WE MOVE INTO 2016 (Year of Unshakeable Truths) WITH GREAT JOY AND STRENGTH!