A Wonderful Life"
Rev. Rodney L. Graves
of the things that I find so powerful about the Christmas story is its inclusive message and its uniqueness. We believe
that GOD's Son through His Spirit and the Virgin Mary came into this world. We call Him "Immanuel"
meaning God is with us; but mostly, we call Him, Jesus meaning GOD saves. And what makes His Story even more inclusive
and unique is that God's only begotten Son Jesus was raised by the man Joseph.
The Christmas story
is inclusive because of many things. Let me share some of them:
- 1. GOD values children so much
that GOD entered the world as a child. Children should be nurtured and brought up in the wisdom of GOD just as JESUS was (Luke
- 2. GOD values women so much that GOD entered the world through the womb of a young
woman. It reminds us that women should be valued, honored, and most of all loved. This applies to mothers, wives, sisters,
aunts, grandmothers, daughters, cousins; this applies to all women everywhere.
- 3. God values
"dad." Joseph was not Jesus' father but he was His dad. Regardless of the family structure, the strength
of the family is determined more by nurture than nature. To nurture children means to both love and raise them: some parents
raise their children but show no love; other parents love their children but do not raise them. Joseph did both.
Jesus was taught in the temple and learned from his community. It does take a village (Luke 2:46).
too, have your own story. It is unique to you. If defines who you are. Hopefully, you have decided to become
a part of His story for in it lies your salvation. No matter who you are, there is room for you in His Story.
For Jesus, there was no room in the inn and that's how your life can sometimes feel, but in His Story, there is always room
for you. His Story includes you: the Christmas story is unique, inclusive, but most of all, it's true and can be true
for you. It Is A Wonderful Life especially with Jesus Christ in it!!!
Recovering From Loss
"It Can Still Be A Wonderful Life"
By: Rev. Rodney L. Graves
some point in our earthly lives, we will experience loss. Some losses don't hurt much. When our favorite sports
team loses, we may feel sadness but quickly get over it. When losing at Dominoes, Scrabble, cards, or similar games,
we may feel upset or even mad depending on our level of competitive fire. Normally, this type of hurt is short lived
and easily managed.
Yet, other losses hurt more deeply. Some of the more painful hurts are:
of or decline one's health or independence
- Loss of or decline in one's job, career or business
- Loss or estrangement
of a significant relationship (spouse, family,
- Loss of a loved one or decline in
the health of a loved one.
Consider these five keys to recovering from loss:
- 1. Process
your grief. Emotions like fear, anger, worry, depression, resentment, helplessness and grief are normal. It's
not good to stuff them or deny they exist. God created us to feel. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be
comforted" (Matthew 5:14).
- 2. Accept help. While
temporary isolation may provide some relief, be open to receive help. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you so that you can discern
the right kind of help: some people can be more hurtful than helpful.
- 3. Choose
the right response. Perpetual bitterness will not undo the past or stop impending loss. Allow your loss to bring
you closer to God. "Pour out your heart before Him" (Psalm 62:8).
Know your joy comes from God. Happiness is determined by what happens to us; joy comes from connecting
with the Holy Spirit who is within us. "Rejoice Always" (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
Be grateful for what or who you still have. Celebrate your own life and appreciate what or who you
still have. Even with the loss of a loved one, you still have pleasant memories. Most of all, you still have God.
approaching holidays can be a time when people feel overwhelmed by past or impending loss. Remember "Immanuel"
means God is with us and God promised to be with us always. With Christ, it still can be A Wonderful Life!
A Family Moment for Children & Youth
"A Christmas Letter From
God to His Children"
Twana Jones - Education Chair
Dear Beloved Children,
If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth, here is my wish list. Choose
something from it.
- 1. Instead of writing letters to Santa Clause, write letters of love and hope
to a near by neighbor or friend inviting
them to church on December 23rd in celebration of
my birth. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year.
I know, they tell me all the time!
Visit someone in a hospital, nursing home, distance neighbor or relative.
You don't have to know them personally.
They just need to know that someone cares about them.
Instead of asking your parents for lots of gifts they can't afford and you don't need, spend time with them. Ask them
tell you the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Give your
parents a hug and a kiss
and remind them that you love them for all the hard work they do for you.
Did you know that someone in your school will not have an enjoyable Christmas? Since you don't know who that person is, try
giving everyone you meet a warm smile --- it could make the difference.
Do not hold grudges from the past, forgive him or her and wish them a "Merry Christmas".
Ask your parents you want to make a difference in the world by supporting a missionary, especially one who takes My
Love & Good News to those who have never heard My name. You may already know
someone like that.
- 7. Here's a good one. There are individuals & families in
your school or town who not only will have no "Christmas", but also no presents to give or receive.
If you don't know them (and I suspect you don't) ask your parents to contrib- ute into buying some food & a few gifts
& give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity that believes in Me
& they will make the delivery for you.
- 8. Finally, if you want to make
a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, don't
do things out of spite or guilt that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that
you are one of mine.
P.S. Don't forget;
I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me & do what I have told you to
do. I'll take care of all
Check out my list above & get to work; time is short. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those
whom you love.