November, 2015

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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Disconnecting the Light of Christmas: ‘Elf’

In our home, Thanksgiving celebrations have always included the official opening of Christmas Movie-Watching Season, with multiple family favorites being viewed every year. My memory may be a bit sketchy here, but it seems as though every single Thanksgiving weekend at our home since 2004 has featured at least one showing of the 2003 film Elf,

Songs and Scenes: The First Sunday of Advent 2015

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November 29th is the first Sunday of Advent 2015. Advent (which means “coming” or “arrival”) is a season where the church remembers Christ’s first coming and anticipates his promised return It is a season characterized by prayer, quiet waiting and joyful expectation.

Sojourn Community Church Worship Pastor, Mike Cosper wrote, “Advent should be dark and tense. The world desperately needs a Savior, and in Advent we should feel the weight of that longing.” Today’s liturgy gave voice to that longing. In our gathering we cried out for Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, to break into the darkness of this broken world and make all things new.

Mission Spotlight: Local Ministry Partners

equippingLocal ministry partnerships are an important way The Crossing meets the needs in our community. We support 14 local ministries including 8 ministry staff.

The Crossing’s Equipping the Saints Partnership Drive is currently underway. The Crossing partners with several organizations in Columbia devoted to helping others all year long. This year at Christmas, you can help others by partnering with them. Get involved by giving a high-impact gift that equips these organizations to continue making a difference in specific lives, in specific ways.

Organizations you can partner with include:

ESI: Mission Spotlight has already featured Cor and in2Action. Watch for future Mission Spotlight features for all our other local ministry partners in coming months.

In addition to ministries involved in our Equipping the Saints Partnership Drive, The Crossing also supports and encourages you to give to these local organizations and staff:

Getting Ready for Sunday November 29th at The Crossing

Prepare

How do you get ready for Christmas? We tend to think the Christmas season proper starts with Black Friday. We mark the four weeks leading up to Dec. 25 as a time for shopping, parties, and baking. It’s frenetic and fun (and not a little stressful). That’s how we get ready for Christmas.

But Christians through the centuries have gotten ready for Christmas differently. This Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent is a time of waiting, of longing. It’s supposed to cultivate dissatisfaction, but not a consumer dissatisfaction that lacks the latest, greatest gadgets. It’s the deeper dissatisfaction with a world of sin and brokenness, with the darkness in us. It’s the longing for the light to come shine in our midst and change us.

Perhaps as you start to get ready for Christmas this year, take some time to reflect on Advent and how you can get ready in that deeper way for the coming of the Christ. Some suggestions could include:

A Practical Way to Keep The Thanks in Thanksgiving

I learned more in some ways what it means to be American by living overseas than I did living here. Living abroad, you quickly learn the stereotypes about your home country (including how they have a lot of truth in them).

One stereotype I was happy to own was that Americans are optimistic, positive people. And the fourth Thursday in November was a special time to shine.

When we first arrived in England, we gravitated towards other Americans on Thanksgiving. We would gather for a big feast and play American football (as opposed to “their football”). We all got excited when we found a small gas (petrol) station owned by a British lady who had grown up in America and was keen enough on some of the traditional American foods that she had them shipped over. I still remember paying 9 pounds (at the time about $16) for a can of pumpkin and some marshmallow crème. It was money well spent to get some of the traditional Thanksgiving menu right.

The longer we stayed, though, the more we shared this holiday with British friends. It was fun for us to introduce them to this uniquely American holiday. They always enjoyed it, partly because they don’t have anything like it, and partly because it played into some of their favorite stereotypes of us: we love sweet food and are just so darn positive. An entire holiday devoted to eating and counting all the good things that have happened? It sounded foreign and enticing to our British friends. I remember being really conscious as I prepared this American tradition for them, that I wanted to make sure that I represented both aspects well – the sweet food AND the thanksgiving part. My guess is that most of us have the sweet food already planned out for tomorrow, but do we have the gratitude part planned?

Ten Things We Can Always Be Thankful For

It turns out that you and I have a lot to be thankful for.

Because if you’re someone who knows Christ, the following things are true of and for you, regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself. They’re all worth thanking God for this week…and, for that matter, any other time:

Every-Single-Day Thankfulness

These days, it seems to me that gratitude is less and less the natural inclination of the average American heart. Maybe it’s the relentless focus our news sources give to harrowing world events, the way in which political battles have turned into mud-slinging matches or the fact that Americans in the 21st century – even