Christmas & Generosity
Most people enjoy the Christmas season, although a common note is that it is busy and stressful. A part of the season that makes Christmas enjoyable and stressful is the whole dance of ‘gift exchanges.’ Do we get a gift for this relative? Will a friend buy us a gift when we are not ready to respond in kind? Should we buy a gift or just give cash? Most of us desire to have our giving be a blessing and not just a chore.
The Bible has much to say about generosity. Here are just a few examples:
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Prov. 11:25)
The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously . . . I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. (Ps. 37:21, 25-26)
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously . . . You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion. (I Cor. 9:6, 11)
Christmas is a season of giving and it is the heart of God for you to be generous. As you prepare for your Christmas giving, hear are some thoughts to keep in mind.
First, giving is not only about money. The gift of time may be more valuable to some. Showing love need not always cost money. Most of us would prefer to give a homeless person $20 rather than spend an hour becoming their friend. By definition, giving caries a cost. Not all costs are financial.
The same point could be made about how absent parents often attempt to make up for not being present by giving expensive gifts at Christmas. Being available for your children is of greater value than new gadgets.
Second, give according to you means. Our culture encourages us to buy now and pay later. It makes no sense to spend lavishly at Christmas and struggle to pay for the debt in the months that follow. As Rom 13:8 (KJV) says, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.” Some of us need to fix our finances this year so we can grow in generosity next year.
Third, be encouraged to do some Christmas giving to those who cannot reciprocate. The major thrust of giving in the New Testament is helping those in need. The early church had no buildings to maintain and often the church leaders were not paid. The Apostle Paul gathered a collection to help other Christians who were suffering through a famine. The heart of giving is to bless someone in need.
We do have family obligations at Christmas that call for giving of gifts. May I encourage you to look for ways to also give to meet a real need in an unexpected way.
Fourth, generosity is more of a lifestyle than an event. While it is commendable that we give a generous gift from time to time, God desires that we develop a generous character. Generosity counters natural selfishness. You and I were born selfish and we have grown to understand we share this world with others. Maturity includes growing in selflessness and compassion for others.
God blesses generous people. The Bible states this truth and life experience shows the same. Generosity is good for the soul. My prayer for us this Christmas season is that gift giving will be joy-filled as we bless others. Merry Christmas!
Christmas Eve Service
Fort Lee Gospel Church will have a Christmas Eve Candle and Carol Service at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, December 24th. We will be joined by some of our sister churches for a combined worship service.
The service includes a number of traditional Christmas Carols, special music, Scripture readings, Christmas poems, and a brief Christmas message. The service is expected to be about 75 minutes in length and is suitable for the whole family. You will find that this is one of the most uplifting services of the year. You will want to plan your Christmas events to include this time of worship.
Plan to make our church’s Christmas Eve service a special part of your Christmas celebration.
New Year’s Eve Service
The New Year’s Eve Service on Tuesday, December 31 will begin at 9:00 PM and run through Midnight. We welcome you to join us for this special event.
The schedule for New Year’s Eve will include a service reflecting on the past year from 9:00—10:00 PM. This will include a time to give God thanks for His blessings. Then we will have an hour for refreshments and fellowship. Our final service will be from 11:00 PM—Midnight, including a communion service to bring in the new year. We will be joined by our sister churches.
Our Christian faith reminds us that we are made new through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. As every year starts as a new slate, so we start 2020 filled with new possibilities and opportunities.
Women’s Christmas Tea: December 14
On Saturday, December 14th, the women will meet at church for a Christmas Tea from 6:30—8:30 PM. This annual event will include singing Christmas carols, fellowship, a Christmas devotional, and various Christmas foods will be shared. The theme this year is “Everything We Need.”
Women are encouraged to bring an appetizer or dessert to share with the group. All women should plan to be a part of this encouraging time of fellowship and worship.
The Saturday Women’s Bible Study will meet on December 28th. This study meets at 2:00 PM and the topic continues to be Christ in the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament.
Ladies, plan to be a part of these special events.
Crèche Lighting Dedication
On Sunday, December 15th at 6:00 PM some Fort Lee churches will combine to dedicate the crèche and sing Christmas Carols. The figures of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus have been on display every Christmas season on the corner of Lemoine and Main St. for the past 20 years.
Recently the crèche was repainted and lights were added to the display which stands along side a Hanukah menorah.
Pastor Rick along with clergy from at First Reformed Church and Church of the Madonna have made plans to dedicate the crèche this Christmas along with a time for singing Carols.
This is our fourth year participating in this event and we were blessed in the past. Plan to join with others from the community to says some prayers and sing Carols and dedicate this testimony to the real meaning of Christmas.
December Events at Fort Lee Gospel Church
11:00 AM Worship Service Our weekly service including worship through singing, prayer, preaching and fellowship. Nursery and three children’s classes are available.
9:00 AM Chinese Worship Service The Chinese worship service is led by Pastor Sandy Xie and she can be reached at 917-593-0420.
1:30 PM Korean Worship Service Contact Pastor Jaedoo Lee for further details at 646-464-2448.
5:30 PM Spanish Worship Service Contact Rev. Esteban Canales at 973-510-8834 for more details.
7:00 PM, Dec 1 Evening Service Our Sunday evening service only meets once in December because of Crèche lighting.
1:30 PM, Dec 8 & 22 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
1:15 PM, Dec 15 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
6:00 PM, Dec 15 Crèche Lighting Dedication Meeting at the corner of Lemoine and Main St.
12:30 PM, Dec 22 Church Dinner Our monthly meal with a Christmas theme.
12:30 PM, Tuesdays Men’s Lunch & Bible Study We meet for a meal before we study the Bible and pray together.
7:30 PM, Tuesdays Bible Study The group is studying the book of Joshua.
6:00 AM, Wednesdays Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
7:30 PM, Dec 24 Christmas Eve Service See page 2 for details
9:00 PM—Midnight, Dec 31 New Year’s Eve Service See page 2 for details
6:00 AM Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting combining personal and group prayer meets every Saturday.
6:30 PM, Dec 14 Women’s Christmas Tea See page 2 for details.
3:00 PM, Dec 14 & 5:00 PM Dec 28 Youth Group For those in 7th grade through 12th grade.
2:00 PM, Dec 28 Women’s Bible Study Study from The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms & Wisdom Books
Read through the Bible in 2020
Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
One way to get to know God’s Word better is to read it through in a year. If that seems too big a challenge, you can read the New Testament through in a year.
The church has made available a reading guide which is divided between Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms and New Testament. If you do the four daily readings, you will have read every verse in the Bible in 365 days.
The reading guide is available through the month of December and can be started at any time. You can adapt it to include family readings or morning and evening readings. There is also instruction on journaling with the SOAP method.
Last year was our strongest response to this reading guide with over 30 signed up to read through in 2019. There was benefit to those who completed the readings and even those who come up short.
Plan to grow in your faith this year by investing time in reading God’s Word. The promise (reading and applying) is greater success in life according to Joshua 1:8.
One Solitary Life
How do you explain the greatness of the Man whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas.
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter’s shop until He was 30. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never had a family or owned a home. He never set foot inside a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where He was born. He never wrote a book or held an office. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.
Although He walked the land over, curing the sick, giving sight to the blind, healing the lame, and raising people from the dead, the top established religious leaders turned against Him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was spat upon, flogged, and ridiculed. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, the executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth, and that was His robe. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave though the pity of a friend.
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central Figure for much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever sailed, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this One Solitary Life.
– by George Clarke Peck