Are You Ready?
I was bouncing around in a pick-up truck on a logging road and since Christmas was just a few weeks away, I asked my companion the obvious question: “So, are you ready for Christmas?”
His response was clear and unforgettable. “I will answer that question this time but please don’t ever ask me again. No, I am not ready for Christmas.”
I was a little surprised by the edge in his response but not by his answer. I have never felt ready for Christmas.
Maybe it is because Christmas has become so complex and challenging. Maybe it’s because there are just so many activities, sensitivities, events and expenses that, no matter how organized I get, I never feel ready. Never.
I usually find myself on Christmas Eve wondering why I don’t feel ready. The gifts are purchased and wrapped, the church events are organized, and the food is in the fridge. Everything is ready, but I am not. And that sense of not being ready is very disconcerting.
A couple of years ago I became a grandfather again with the arrival of twin girls just before Christmas. As I was holding them, marvelling at their beauty and the simple joy they bring with their presence I realized something. I wasn’t ready to meet them, and I never would have been. Just like I wasn’t ready to be a husband or a father or a pastor. I prepared for all those things, but I never felt ready for any of them. They were simply gifts of grace I needed to experience. I think Christmas is exactly like that. We can prepare all we want but it’s not something we will ever be completely ready for. It is instead a gift of grace that is best when we simply experience it. When we fail to understand this, I think we turn Christmas into a chore that we are never ready for.
If I see you in the next few weeks, I probably won’t ask if you are ready for Christmas, but I may ask if you are experiencing the grace of Christmas. I pray that you will experience it in abundance.
A “Gift” of a Youth Retreat
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A contingent of youth from three BC-Y churches — Olivet Baptist, Southwest Community, and Southside Community — got together for a weekend of spiritual and relational growth at Shuswap Lake in November. With the theme of “Gift” this retreat helped students understand how they are a gift from God to each other and to the world, and how Jesus — the greatest gift — modeled for us how we can live a life of service and love by using the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us. As well as practicing these gifts through times of intercession, prayer, worship and listening, there was also plenty of fun with jam sessions, a giant Dutch Blitz game and outdoor laser tag.
Ricky Stephen from Olivet and Cailey Morgan from Southside are looking to put together another youth retreat in February. Email firstname.lastname@example.org before December 15 if your youth group would be interested in participating.
Changes in the Mountain Standard Region
- Jeff Logan and Juli Wells Logan are stepping down from their positions at Southgate Baptist Church, Calgary
- Sebastian Dykstra begins as Associate Pastor of Christian Education at Altadore Baptist Church, Calgary, in January
Changes in the Heartland Region
- Mel Konkel is stepping down from his senior pastor position at Moosomin Baptist Church
- Alisa Powers has stepped down from her associate position at Moosomin Baptist Church
- Kevin Dyck has stepped down from his youth pastor position at Moosomin Baptist Church
- Scott Elger begins as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, Moose Jaw in January
- Peter Elias begins as Pastor at Strathclair Baptist Church in December
Settled in the BC & Yukon Region
- Stephen Philips begins as Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church, Nanaimo
- Brian Munroe as Pastor at FBC Kitimat
- Brian Carnahan as Pastor to Bethel Baptist, Sechelt
- Monica McKinlay as Pastor to Kitsilano Christian Fellowship, Vancouver
- Jason Johnson as Senior Pastor to Summerland Baptist