Getting together with family… singing Christmas carols… retelling stories of old… sharing awesome family memories… driving over to the nearest coffee shop to pick up some drinks and then head out to see the Christmas lights… these are all but a few things our family enjoys at Christmastime. A few nights ago, we piled into the car, with coffee, tea and hot cocoa in hand… we made our way through the city streets… and here’s a little of what we saw… and of course, we love playing card games when the family is all together!
Leslie and I wish you… your family… and your church a very Merry Christmas! We love you!
ENCOURAGEMENT: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2) In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 4-5) In the winter time I do most of my running while it is still dark outside. Most of my running is before the rising of the sun as I meet a few guys to run at 5:00AM. Yes, it is cold… very cold. Sometimes, I’m able to get a run in the evening after the sun sets… which is my preference, because it is always a little warmer at 6:00PM than 5:00AM. However, on both sides of the clock… it is still dark in the winter. And one thing I have learned… that is, to run with a headlamp. Several years ago Leslie got me this rechargeable headlamp for Christmas… and it is the BEST! I can be seen coming for a long distance, and for those who may be cycling coming from behind, can see my flashing red light on the back of my head.
It’s amazing to notice the number of people, not so much in the early morning hours, but those in the evening, who will go out… walk, and even cycle WITHOUT a light. One time, I was hit head on by a cyclist who did not have a light… even though I had a small headlamp, he still rode smack into me. It was then I learned to get a very bright light. A small faint light is not good enough. It needs to be bright… or as the scriptures point out a ”GREAT LIGHT”. This light was so great that some magi in a distant land could spot Him. This light was so great that some insignificant shepherds found Him. This light was so great that an old man in the temple approached Him. This light was so great that an elderly lady who was serving in the temple rejoiced to find Him. And this Light was so great… hundreds… even thousands came to be healed by Him, be fed by Him, listen to Him, watch Him at work… and today, millions are following Him desiring to live their lives after Him.
Jesus, Thank You for coming to this world of darkness to show us the way. You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life! And when we follow You, You are the One who illuminates our pathway and You show us how to walk in the Light as You are in the Light. There is no darkness stronger than the light. You expel the darkness. And we praise Your name, just as those praised You when they came to the first Manger Scene, or found You in the Temple, or presented You with gifts while You were in a home. Thank You Jesus, for the gift of Life. You are the Light of Life!
I love coming home to sit and stare at the Christmas Tree. The Christmas Tree decorated with so many varieties of colored lights. For the tree reminds me of Calvary… the very reason Jesus came. The Lights remind me of Jesus who is the Light of the World. The star reminds me of the guiding light for the magi who came to worship the Lord. The ornaments remind me of all that we are… and with every ornament, there’s a token that represents me, my family, my friends… and as they are placed on the tree we are presenting ourselves back to Jesus. The gifts under the tree remind me of the gift of love on Calvary.
DISTRICT MATTERS: You will soon gather with your family and church for Christmas Eve… some of you will have Candlelight Services… you will read the Christmas Story… you will share memories… you will sing carols… you will enjoy great feasts. May Jesus bless you!
- Angel Tree Ministries: I had the wonderful privilege of joining a few families from our home church as we went out in to the community to bless a few families with gifts. There are many families living in our neighborhoods who don’t have very much. And what a joy it was to hang out with a few families from our church to go out and bless some others. Thank you, Tim and Kelly Garman (my brother and sister-in-law) for organizing this outreach event.
- NewNaz Choir: Last Saturday night I went to participate in the choir celebration. I realize that many of you shared the story of Christmas through drama, musicals, and various presentations. I have seen a number of productions through Facebook, and I am so grateful at all I have seen. Thank you Pastor Josh and Courtney Johnson & NewNaz for this wonderful presentation!
- Ventura: Last Sunday I was privileged to be part of the worship with Pastor Dan and Lisa Hull, along with the wonderful people in Ventura. We continue to pray for this church, and the many people they build relationships with, who have been affected by the fires. What a special day it was to spend these moments with our Powerhouse Church in Ventura! Pastor Dan invited a seminary student to share his testimony of God’s saving grace. This young man grew up an orphan from the age of 5 days old in Latvia. What a powerful testimony he shared.
- District Center: On Wednesday we invited the tenants from the third floor to usher in Christmas, as we celebrated the birth of our Savior together. Thank you Shay and Vania for putting this together!
- Casa Robles: Once again, I enjoyed the morning at Casa Robles with our retired missionaries… and more. This time, I brought along with me, Leslie, Aubree, and Dave Ewart… and the three of them provided a wonderful Christmas Concert for those who came. I was honored to have my mother-in-law, Bobbie, present with us as well.
- Santa Monica & Katie Savage: Congratulations to author Katie Savage on her newest children’s book: Not Especially Special. I love it when we have new releases coming out from our pastors, spouses, and L.A. people!
- Rose Parade: Would you be interested in seeing the Rose Parade up close and live? Pastor Ariel Babikian has informed me that the best way for you (preferably a church contact) to contact him on his cell phone at (626)755-4832 and he will make arrangements with your church group. His group that he organizes averages 200-300 people, but with enough time, he says they could have as many as 1000. WOW!
May the Lord guide you as you finish out this calendar year granting you a terrific and Merry Christmas! I am praying for you as you enter this New Year of 2018. I am most certain that the Lord has great plans for His church as we learn to seek Him in all things. I love you and look forward to seeing you soon!
Greg A. Garman
Los Angeles District Superintendent
Church of the Nazarene