by Pastor Marty Price
One of my favorite Christmas memories from my childhood is that it always involved a journey. We would pack up and head to Kingstree, SC to see my Mom’s family, then to Kannapolis, NC to see Dad’s. It always felt like going home. Most of the time it was a pretty long trip, whether traveling from Mississippi or Louisiana. (As an adult I learned to sympathize with what it must have been like for my parents, traveling with four small children). We always knew we were getting close to Kingstree when the roads flattened and straightened for long stretches and the huge Oaks on either side of the road were decorated with Spanish Moss, hanging down like leftover Halloween decorations. Fields dotted with weathered tobacco barns let us know we were almost there. Then the turn off pavement onto dirt roads, and we had arrived.
The kitchen was always busy, the table all but groaning under the weight of the many dishes, platters, plates. The almost frenetic playing with cousins we hadn’t seen since last Christmas, interrupted by quail, rabbit, and some memorable squirrel hunts, are memories held as much in my heart as my mind. Papa’s house still stands, though he has been with Jesus for a long time. My cousin lives there now.
Have I mentioned that I love Christmas! I love the “all out” celebrations, the festivities, (some of) the music, and rejoicing that is inherent in the season! And I love the opportunities it affords, like to other time of the year, to tell friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers, that Christmas is about Jesus Christ, our greatest gift.
We are going to have a wonderful Christmas at West End Baptist Church! We are moving home to the West End, increasing the demands of an already busy season. We are serving on ministry teams, planning and executing services, meeting needs in the community, and meeting our new neighbors, all while moving. Exciting Days!
Thank you! Thank you for the unity we are enjoying, for your participation in the mission God has given us, and for your generosity. Thank you for not only being willing but embracing the journey God has led us through these last years. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made and the enthusiasm you bring to our step by step walk of obedience to God.
There are three things I encourage you to do this month particularly. First, celebrate! As you think on the miracle of Christmas – Rejoice! Second, worship. Like the Magi who went to extreme effort to worship Jesus, set aside time to meditate, pray, and express your adoration to God. And finally, tell the people around you about Jesus. Be like the Shepherds who couldn’t stop talking about what they had experienced. Make sure your people know who we are celebrating at Christmas.
Suzanne and I love you, and with all of our hearts we wish you a Merry Christmas!