At Christmas, we often long for gifts which cannot be purchased, gifts that touch our deeper desires. I think all of us long for more peace in our lives and in our world. We long for the gift of hope from God, to be able to trust that God is with us in life’s troubles. We long to know if life can be better. What can we believe in when stress is high during the holidays or when the future looks uncertain for us? Our worship during December is about coming home. That may be a physical place where we return to, or it may be a spiritual place where our hearts can feel God’s presence, care and help.

In many ways, the Christmas story is about coming home. Fear, surprise and uncertainty accompany Mary’s news about the first Christmas. She has been asked to do a remarkable thing and given an unbelievable promise for her son, the Son of God. With this news, Mary initially seems to be very alone, perhaps facing the very real possibility of raising a child as a single parent. We’ll recall how Joseph was making secret plans to divorce her. Yet God did not leave her alone in this. Mary came home to trust in the promise of God. In fact, God sends her to her cousin, Elizabeth, for encouragement and help.

For some of us, Christmas is a time to be with family. It’s often filled with joy and reunion. That can be such a blessing. For others, Christmas is not about biological family, but finding joy and fulfillment in relationships that nurture us. God loves every kind of family, and, in many respects, our worship series is about how God works in every kind of family and in family problems, especially when challenges arise. You may be family of one or of many. You may have an extended family, blended or somewhere in between. My hope is that we will find our Christmas together as God’s family at PVUMC. We’ll look at the Christmas story with fresh eyes and as a way to bring God’s hope and grace to nearly impossible family circumstances. Our worship this month is an invitation for all of us to come home to God for Christmas and to find the gifts we most need: hope, acceptance and love.

Dave Summers, PhD
Senior Pastor
602.840.8360, Ext 131

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