Just a little reminder:

He’s what it’s all about. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. And while we know that this season has a special focus on Him, I’d encourage us all to keep Him front and center all the rest of the year.

If we do that, we’ll be transformed in His image – that loving, generous, kind, wise and wonderful image, which is exactly who we were meant to be when God breathed life into the first human, his beloved creation.

Dear friends, until tomorrow, remember that He is the reason for every day of our life!

And now, for a little fun…

I love Christmas music. Absolutely love it all. The old classics, the bubble-gum pop songs about Santa and candy canes, the serious song about our faith by Christian artists. All of it. One of my favourite things is finding a new song to obsess over each Christmas Season. So I thought I would share some of my favourite non-traditional Christmas songs (and, of course, that means I can share some of my favourite traditional ones in a future post, so be on the lookout for that).

Let’s begin with this awesome reinterpretation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, done to songs from the broadway show Hamilton:

This awesome mash-up of two of my favourite newer Christmas songs: Mary Did You Know and the beautiful Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song) by Anthem Lights and Charlotte Ave:

You don’t always hear carols about Joseph. So I love that For King and Country included one on their “A Drummer Boy Christmas,” album. This is “The Carol of Joseph (I believe in you)”:

And finally, this joyous and uplifting song from Hillsong Worship, “Born is the King (It’s Christmas!):

Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep singing his praises!

Finding hope…

December is upon us. As one of my colleagues preached this week, it will be “Christmas as Unusual.” We’ve done a lot of grieving this year, and I’m sure there will be more to do. But, rather appropriately, I find myself hopeful as December begins. We are in the first week of Advent – the Sunday of Hope was this past Sunday. And while we couldn’t gather, and there were all kinds of things missing as we travelled through the last few days of November, I found myself hopeful in a way I haven’t been for a while.

This December won’t be like others, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it beautiful.

We can choose to make new memories, to find new ways to celebrate, to be thankful for the simple things and to spread love and light all around this dark side of the year.

So until tomorrow, dear friends, hold to hope, hold to the One who IS our hope, and know that He is faithful.

Meme Monday…

Every single one of us needs to approach life like this lady’s 8 year old:

Bahahahaaha!!!:

Snort!:

This bit of celestial humor:

This lovely little wisdom for the difficult days:

This is absolutely me:

So now you know how to make a vegetarian turkey:

Oh, that’s so lovely:

Funny, but also true:

And finally, this blessing for your day:

Until tomorrow, dear friends keep on laughing and thinking and drawing closer to God!

Light in Darkness – The Darkness has not Overcome

Welcome to Advent 1 – The Advent Sunday of Hope.

We continued our new initiative of pre-recording the service in the sanctuary this week. We are experimenting with camera angles and sound enhancements, so each week may look a little different until we figure out some best practices.

In any case, here is this week’s service. I trust that God will use it to draw you closer to him.

And because we cannot do more sing-along music in the pre-recorded service (the editing process to get the words on the screen timed properly is quite time consuming), I wanted to share some extra music for you to enjoy this Sunday. This is the Houston Chamber Choir singing, “People, look east.” I learned this song at Graceview, and I absolutely love it. It is so bright and lively, which is not always the tone of Advent music. This version is four verses, and here are the lyrics in case you would like to sing along.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep on holding to the hope that does not disappoint!

Worship Resources!

It’s Advent 1, the Sunday of Hope tomorrow. This begins our journey towards Christmas. In recent years, this has been the busiest season of the year with all kinds of socializing, shopping, and making merry with friends, family and church-family. This year will be different. This year, we cannot gather as we once did. Most of our socializing and making merry has been put on hold. And there is a bit of a sense of dread as we enter into this season.

That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I get that it is uncomfortable and we are tired of all this social distancing. But in dark times, we need the light even more. In times that tend toward exhaustion and despair, what could be more powerful than hope?

So let’s gather some worship resources to remind us of the One who is our hope!

Let’s start with this Christmas Monologue from For King and Country’s album A Drummer Boy Christmas (which is in heavy rotation on my listening devices!):

I thought this little reflection on Christmas put it so well:

A reminder of the journey we begin tomorrow:

This extraordinary instrumental of O Come, O Come Emmanuel (it might look like Israel, but that’s actually movie set for a movie about Jerusalem! Had me fooled for a moment or two):

And finally, a word from the scriptures on Hope:

Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep on holding to hope!

Even you…

A couple of my colleagues have been posting things about mental health this week. There’s been discussion about whether we (as individuals) are surviving, struggling or in crisis. This has been a week when I’ve been in crisis too much.

A lot of that has had to do with the move to a new condo – which I trust will be worth it in the long run, but has been a mountain of stress in the short run.

So I admit to you that I’m feeling a little broken. And I hope when you’re feeling that way, you will remember this little bit of kindness that a friend shared on Facebook this week:

You can be broken, and still be beautiful. You can be broken, and still worth the sacrifice Jesus made for you, still loved by God who adores you. Yes, even you. (Even me!)

So until tomorrow, dear friends, please remember that though you may feel broken, you are still beautiful and dearly loved.

One day…

As our neighbours to the south celebrate Thanksgiving today, this meme came across my feed, and it just did my heart good.

In this year of mostly staying separate, I long for those noisy, chaotic dinners that mark most of our celebrations. I know in the past, there have been some of them that I took for granted. Or during which I was tired or cranky or otherwise disengaged. And now I would give just about anything to go back to one of those crowded, food-laden tables for just 5 minutes with a bunch of people that I love.

In the meantime, I will hold to hope. The hope of a time when those celebratory meals can resume. And the hope of the Heavenly Feast that is prepared for those who love and trust Jesus.

One day, there will be a table with space for absolutely everyone. One day, there will be a table laden with food where we will all gather. One day, everything will be whole and healed and redeemed. One day.

Until then, dear friends, keep holding to hope.