December 9, 2023
Hello Grace Vineyard and Friends,
It’s Saturday afternoon and as I am typing in my office, just downstairs in the lobby our ladies are enjoying their Christmas Luncheon.
Here’s a quick photo I just took. It’s beautiful and festive and worshipful. What a wonderful place we have to enjoy gatherings like this. I am so thankful for our church community and this wonderful home we have to meet in.
Earlier this morning I was at the men’s breakfast and it too was great gathering, filled with worship and fellowship and prayer and the Word of God. I think during the holiday season especially, we tend to be together more frequently with parties and dinners, and I just want to say, it is really wonderful to be in our Grace Vineyard Family with each of you.
Advent Week2 – The Miracle of Peace
Last Sunday we began 4 Weeks of Advent with a message on Hope. You’ll remember that Advent is the 4 Sunday season leading up to Christmas Day and the word “Advent” comes from a Latin word, “adventus”, which means “arrival” or “coming”. It means “the coming or arrival of something or someone that is important or worthy of note”. For Christians around the world, Advent is a season of spiritual preparation for celebrating the coming of the birth of Christ, and the variety of Christians around the world have a variety of expressions for this season with everything from Advent wreaths and Jesse Trees to the lighting of colored candles with each color representing a theme of Advent. We think about the arrival of Christ, celebrated at Christmas, and we think about the arrival of Christ at His second coming still in the future, and we think about the arrival of Christ as His Kingdom breaks into our lives here and now in our present. Whatever the various traditions, pretty much all of them share a focus on 4 themes during the season – Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. So this week we continue by thinking about the miracle of Peace that comes with the arrival of Jesus in our lives. Peace with God, peace with each other, and the Peace in our hearts that brings an experience of wholeness and fullness regardless of circumstances and all the forces of anxiety that come against us. Tomorrow we will open up God’s Book and learn more deeply what He has in store for us as we experience His Peace that surpasses our ability to even comprehend its vastness. Please join us at 9:30; if you have to be away you can join us online via zoom with this info: Zoom Meeting ID 153 112 432, Passcode 684814. You may also join us on Facebook Live at facebook.com/gracevcf.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Christmas is just around the corner, and you may have noticed that Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year. We will be meeting as usual on Sunday morning, December 24th at 9:30, and then we’ll all come back at 5pm for a special Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. We always keep our Christmas Eve service short so we have the rest of the evening to get on with our various Christmas traditions. Plan on it lasting about an hour. We’ll sing beautiful Christmas songs, tell the Christmas story, and end with the wonderful tradition of singing silent night by candlelight. It’s beautiful. As we end the service we’ll have hot apple cider and Christmas cookies. That’s where we need a bunch of participation from all of us. Tomorrow in the Sunday morning service, we’ll pass around a clipboard for you to sign up to bring your favorite Christmas cookies – a dozen, a couple dozen, or even more. If you won’t be here to sign up, you can also send a text to 760-754-2974 to let us know what you’d like to bring, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After Church Prayer This Sunday
Immediately after church this Sunday (and every 2nd Sunday of the month) we will have after-church prayer from 11:45-1pm. We have creative ways to pray for our church’s ministries and our missionaries and our city and our world! Please stay and join us.
Small Groups on Break Until January
Most of us have busier than usual schedules in the Christmas season, so our small groups are going to take a break until the new year. Sunday Nights at Grace will meet this coming Sunday (December 10), and then they’ll be on break, as will the small groups, until the 1st week in January.
End of Year Donations
Every year generous people give extra end of the year donations to their favorite favorite charities, ministries, and church. For those of you who want to make sure your donation is tax deductible for the 2023 tax year, just make sure your donation arrives at our offices (either online, or via cash or check) by December 31st. If we receive a donation on January 1st or later, even if it’s a check with at 2023 date, we are required to record it for 2024.
Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, and I’ll see you tomorrow at 9:30.
With love and blessings to each of you,
Tithes and Offerings Online
THANKS for taking ownership in the life and ministry of Grace Vineyard! And thanks to all of you who are stepping into a lifestyle of generosity with your tithes and offerings. It really does take all of us doing our part with the income God has entrusted to us for His church. If you’d like to give your tithe or offering online, click the donate button below.