Last winter, in the weeks after my daughter was born, my wife and I spent a good deal of time watching Christmas movies on daytime TV. Needless to say, this not critically acclaimed cinema. Every film shared a similar premise: someone’s life is changed for the better because of the magic of Christmas. There were no Christian messages in these films, but all the same, there was a recognition that there was something special about Christmas that could change someone’s life.
This message of the “magic of Christmas” isn’t just found in our TV programming, our whole culture and society change at Christmas: people start giving to charity, they become kinder and more open to others, and as a society we become less stressed and depressed. It seems that even though our culture wants to distance itself from Christian influences, it still celebrates the “magic of Christmas.” And, most importantly of all, our culture hasn’t completely forgotten where that “magic” really comes from. At Christmas, people are more open to the message of the Gospel, and more open to the Church.
This is an incredibly opportunity, one we shouldn’t let pass us by! We want to make sure that, the one time of year when people are open to hearing from us, we actually speak up, and we share the message of Christmas and that message is that God is FOR us. He’s not a cruel tyrant waiting to destroy the world, and He didn’t wait for us to crawl back to Him, He came to us. He showed us that He loves us, He wants to be with us, and He is FOR us. At the first Christmas, God didn’t keep that message to Himself, he actually showed us that He is FOR us by coming to live among us. And this Christmas, we don’t want to keep that message to ourselves either.
We want everyone in our city to know that God is FOR them this Christmas, and we believe they’ll know that God is FOR them when they see that WE are for them.
So this year, we’re launching Christmas FOR the City, which is a collection of 4 ways that we’re going to show our city that we are FOR them:
Share the Warmth – Ends Nov. 18
We’re partnering with Central Station to put on the “Share the Warmth Winter Clothing Drive.” From now until November 18th you can drop off your new or used winter clothing, for children or adults, at WMBC, and Central Station will make sure that it gets to people who need warm clothes for winter.
WMBC Christmas Party – Nov. 18
Usually the Christmas party is just for us, but this year we’re partnering with Donate Love for an updated and tweaked version. For every ticket sold to the WMBC Christmas Party, we will donate enough money to feed two people at Donate Love’s Christmas Meal. This meal is for the community, but it is especially for those who either can’t afford a Christmas supper themselves, or don’t have family to celebrate with at Christmas.
Family Christmas Experience – Dec. 8
We’re tweaking and changing our traditional Christmas Program so that we can go beyond celebrating Christmas with our families, and invite families from the community to join us in hearing the message of Christmas, and celebrating the season together. Instead of having our kids on stage performing, we’ll have them in the seats along with their family and friends, watching and laughing together.
Christmas Teaching Series – Dec. 9th – 30th
And the last part of Christmas FOR the City is our Advent Teaching Series called “Waiting for Christmas.” This series is going to be accessible to people from all walks of life, even those who aren’t into church. As a part of the series, on Sunday, December 23, we’re going to be having our kids up here as a part of the service, similar to a traditional Christmas Program. So encourage you to invite your friends and family to join us during this series to hear how the coming of Jesus can change every person’s circumstances, and to see their young relatives on stage at Christmas.
For many of us Christmas traditions are sacred, and when we make changes to our traditions it feels like we’ve lost something. We’re right there with you, and this hasn’t been an easy process. But while we will miss some of the things we used to do, the Church needs to be finding new and exciting ways of spreading the Gospel, and we’re following God’s example when we do! God becoming human was a completely new thing, and He did it so He could reach His world, and show that He is FOR us. So this Christmas, let’s do something new. Let’s reach our city and show them that God is FOR them, by showing them that WE are FOR them.
Luke Hildebrand|Nov. 2