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THE GOOD NEWS The Heart of Christmas

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ~ John 3:16-17

By Judith Scharfenberg loudspeaker.

I was grocery shopping the other day and Christmas carols were playing on the I bounced along, throwing things in my cart when I passed by a couple

and I actually heard the woman say, “Christmas carols, yuck. If I hear one more I think I’m going to throw up.” I was stunned. How can you not like Christmas carols? I wonder what must

have happened in her life to bring about that kind of response. But she’s not alone. Statistics show that there is more stress during Christmas than any other time It’s true; people are rushed, frantic to get things done, they’re overcommitted,

of year.

spending money they don’t have and too tired to enjoy any of it. We end up neglect- ing the true meaning of Christmas and it becomes just another season that takes our time, our money, our energy and our spirits. That’s happening more now than ever before. And we suffer for it. Counselors will tell you they see more people with de- pression in January, after the holidays, than at any other time of year. There’s a rea- son for it. People are hungry, not just for food, but they hunger for truth. They say, “Just

give me a reason to make sense out of life, a reason to trust something or someone.” People are sick, not just physically, but deep within their souls. They say, “Just

give me a reason for living. I want some meaning and purpose in my life.” People are in prison, not just behind bars, but many people are locked up in a

prison of self-condemnation or shame; maybe despair or it could be a prison of bad habits. They hurt themselves and others too; often someone they’re close to. They don’t know how to stop and they think no one cares anyway. They say, “Just give

CHRISTMAS DAY By Joni Eareckson Tada This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying

in a manger. --Luke 2:12 On Christmas Day of 1959 the snow fell in light, dry flakes, making our barn

and springhouse almost disappear. I leaned on my elbow looking out the win- dow of our farmhouse. Our home was busy with a pleasant bustling and Christ- mas carols from the kitchen radio drifted my way. During the late afternoon, I pulled on my jacket and boots, stuffed a few

carrots in my pockets, and hiked through the snow to the stable. I felt sorry for the horses. Our farmhouse was warm and light; their barn was dark and cold. I didn't

want the animals to be left out. I opened the barn door and a blast of icy air whistled down the aisle. As I placed a carrot in one of the mangers, something resonated. I stared at the slats of wood nailed together. Jesus was born in a wooden manger just like this! I knew enough of the Christmas story to understand that being in a stable

on a cold evening, surrounded by animals, was somehow appropriate, espe- cially knowing what Mary and Joseph went through and all that Baby Jesus had to face. My small heart warmed to know that God chose to enter the world through a barn...he felt at home in a stable... The Savior of the world was laid in a wooden manger. The Lord of the Universe was that humble. God sliced through the veil of time and space and slipped from the body

of a woman onto the straw of a damp stable. Jesus entered the world in humility. Perhaps this is why Christmas moments that draw us closest to the Savior are usually the simple ones. Look for down-to-earth and uncomplicated ways to celebrate this glorious day. Jesus is born! God is with us! The Light of the World has entered our dark-

ness! Oh, joy! You came to earth to rescue sinful man - and I am so blessed to

have had my eyes opened to the glorious gift of your salvation! Bless you, Lord Jesus! Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permis-

sion. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530. Used with permission by Joni and Friends International Disability Center.

me a reason to feel good about myself. Help me to love other people. And oh, how I want someone to love me.” It wasn’t planned this way. God sent Jesus, His only Son, to this earth to live amongst us. He came to earth

in the form of a baby in that manger in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. We will cel- ebrate His birthday this month. That baby grew up and He had a plan that would give you and me; joy, peace,

happiness, freedom from fear and despair. He came so we could have meaning and purpose in our lives. He told a beautiful, bittersweet, sacrificial story that would give us hope. He died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried and rose again from the grave. He offers forgiveness to all. Want to hear more? Would you like a plan that will help you find more joy in your

life? Join us December 12th for our Christmas Luncheon at the Wilson Creek Winery where I will share more about the Heart of Christmas. Space is limited so invite a friend and make your reservation today. You are going to leave ready to celebrate with a brand new focus. Judy Scharfenberg is an author and speaker at conferences, retreats and other

women’s events. Her recently published book, Secure Families in a Shaky World is available at Mother of six and grandmother to eighteen, Judy lives in Winchester, California. If you would like to know more about a relationship with God or book her for an event, go to, email: , or call 951-325-2117

A Christmas Celebration for Women Calvary Murrieta Women’s Ministry is hosting a Christmas Celebration on

December 7th from 9 am to 11am at Calvary Murrieta located at 24225 Monroe Ave., Murrieta. Admission is FREE so come and bring a friend. The morning will include Special Guest speaker, Annie Stone, the Pastor’s wife from Maranatha Chapel. For more information call 951-677-5667 or visit calvary- “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14


CELEBRATED BY LAKE ELSINORE UNITE METHODIST CHURCH On Christmas Eve, the Christmas story is read from scripture, while the children

and youth (with parents, as Joseph and Mary) portray the Nativity, angels, shepherds, and wise men in a Christmas tableau. The congregation, children, and visitors join in singing traditional Christmas carols, climaxing with “Silent Night” sung with lighted candles held by those present. Services are Tuesday, December 24, 2013, 7:00pm, at the the Elsinore Woman’s Club, 710 W. Graham Ave., Lake Elsinore. Visitors wel- come.

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