By Kevin Kindelin

Here we are again…Christmas is just around the corner. It’s not easy for me to not be a bit cynical about it all when I see how the world celebrates the occasion. Oh, the world celebrates all right, but it seems to have written Jesus out of the picture. In many instances, Christmas is not even referred to as Christmas. Many institutions refer to it as the “Winter Holiday.” The materialism is undeniable. Santa Claus comes on Christmas morning bringing toys to all the good little boys and girls. Mom and Dad are ecstatic about the brand new luxury car with a big bow on it out in the driveway, or so the commercial would lead us to believe.

…Works won’t get us into heaven, but we do these things for others because He sacrificed everything for us.

The events and efforts we extend into the community allow us to show Christ’s love to others.

It’s okay to enjoy these things, as long as they don’t consume us, as long as we put God first. So what must we do to be in this world, but not of it? I would think that most people reading this are already doing it. Doing as in believing…believing that Jesus Christ our Savior came into this world to die for our sins and rise again, defeating death, Satan, and sin. But we also need to do as in doing. Works won’t get us into heaven, but we do these things for others because He sacrificed everything for us.

The events and efforts we extend into the community allow us to show Christ’s love to others. Immanuel‘s school children will be presenting music and skits on each Wednesday evening during Advent. The first Wednesday service will be led by the kindergarten through second graders beginning with the theme of “Preparation.” The second Wednesday will feature the third through fifth graders carrying the next theme of “Love Shared.” On the third Wednesday, the middle schoolers will conclude with “Joy in the Knowledge.” Listening to angelic young voices singing God’s praises can be as uplifting as building a deck for somebody any old day!

Preparing for Christmas: An Evening of Celebration and Relaxation for Women will be presented on December 8 at 6:30 p.m. It will be an evening of faith and friendship as we prepare for this holy season of Advent. Women of Immanuel, come hear about Jesus’ birth though the stories of three women named Mary. Men, stay home!

We are preparing for Christmas Worship Services and are in need of voices for the Immanuel Festival Choir. Anyone who is high school age and above is invited to participate. Musicians are needed as well, along with bell ringers for the Festival Bells.

A Service of Remembrance will be held for those who have experienced the death of loved ones on December 17 at 4:00 p.m. It will be a time to come together to hear God’s word and light candles in memory of loved ones.

As we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, we remember His gift to us and endeavor to spread His Word by carrying out not only His wishes, but His commands. In keeping with our mission of building our church and community Stronger Together in Christ, we welcome a new innovative worship schedule beginning the weekend of 1/6/18 - 1/7/18. Our 5:00 p.m. Saturday and 8:00 a.m. Sunday services will remain as they are, but the 9:15 and 10:45 a.m. Sunday services will be blended into a Worship and Praise Service at 10:30 a.m. We will initiate a Discipleship Hour of Bible study from 9:15-10:15 a.m. in Fellowship Hall on Sundays led by Pastor Tom, along with a Children’s Faith hour (formerly known as Sunday school) if there are enough volunteers. A new contemporary outpost service including worship, praise music, Bible study, and fellowship to be held on Sundays is in the works…details coming soon!

We believe this change is in keeping with our mission and hope and pray that this will help bring us together as a church, school, and community. Hey, I think it’s great if you find a new car with a big bow on it in your driveway, or whatever material gift you might get on Christmas morning, but we can only grow in Christ as we worship, study, serve, and reach out into the community. Volunteers are needed for this bold initiative. Please contact the church office with whatever talents and abilities, or just the willing heart the Lord has blessed you with at 847-359-1549 or