Our 2020 Christmas Village

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

No room at the inn when Jesus was born and in 2020 there will be no visitors in the no nursing home. No place for our Savior’s birth, so how appropriate it was because of the virus to have our Christmas service outdoors at the fountain at Sunshine Christian Village. Just to be clear, these were not the residents of the long term care facility, but rather of the surrounding senior apartments. It was actually a beautiful day (We prayed for no rain) and a safe way to sing some carols; hear the story of Christmas again and pray for one another. Of course we are all happy to hear about the vaccine but as we wait we must still live in today and do what we can to lift up the name of Jesus. I hope you will be encouraged and blessed to find ways to reach out to the long term care facilities in your own community. We are still praying that we can have them open the doors next week on the porch so we could stand outside and sing while they are inside listening.

Carrying Precious Seed

Psalm 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

The Bible nowhere promises that telling others about Jesus will always be easy, socially acceptable or applauded. In fact the early disciples were usually opposed, persecuted and in some cases imprisoned or even put to death. But no matter the obstacles, the work of sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ goes on. It is a going forth and weeping all the while carrying precious seed. So it is with joy that I bring you a praise report this morning about our Nursing Home Christmas caroling. We not only were we given the opportunity to sing yesterday (No photos this time) but we were welcomed into a new facility. For those concerned about the Covid-19 situation let me explain that the setting of our meeting was an outdoor courtyard and we were all temperature checked on the way in. There was also plenty of social distancing and we kept our masks on until we started singing. And what a great time we had! At first it looked as if only two or three residents were coming, but by the time we began our fourth song, about eight more people had joined us and others were able to hear from windows that over looked the central courtyard area! All praise to our God who opens doors that no one can shut!

Nine months have passed of a dark night for our nursing home community with over 100,000 residents being snatched away from us in the United States alone. We must take these numbers seriously. The value of the lives of these most fragile and vulnerable to the virus are precious to God. But no virus or change of government changes our responsibility to bring the word of God’s good news of Jesus at Christmas. I was excited to see new people getting involved in the caroling and an enthusiastic staff singing along, serving hot chocolate and smores to the residents and us! With two more outdoor caroling events planned for this year I would encourage anyone with a desire to reach out to those in long term care to not give up and use every opportunity offered. Send Christmas cards (Write little personal notes in them). Raise finds to buy appropriate gifts. Our small group was able to purchase 35-40 large print Christmas devotionals to give out. Also don’t forget to include the staff in whatever you do, They have been on the front lines protecting lives and sometimes having to say goodbye to people they have loved. God is in control but He has given us the responsibility to carry the seed with weeping. If we will do our part then He has promised to supply the joy that follows when we return with songs of joy carrying the harvest home to Him!

Here are some photos from Christmases past but I hope to bring you some video from our meeting scheduled for Saturday. Pray for us! Ask God how you can be involved in your own community. Most of all – don’t give up! It will be worth it all in the end!