Category Archives: Christmas Edition 2022

The Weary World Rejoices

The Weary World Rejoices

Christmas brings waiting. We anticipate family gatherings, giving (and receiving) gifts, colorful light displays, seasonal music, favorite treats – we wait with anticipation for these special seasonal celebrations. (We wait for it all to be over?)

God’s people have a long history of waiting on God. They waited 430 years for deliverance from their Egyptian captivity. They waited another 40 years wandering in the desert. They waited 70 years exiled in Babylon. They waited 400 years longing to hear God speak.

Waiting can be exhausting. “Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? Restore us to yourself, LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old.” (Lamentations 5:20–21) Waiting for God’s intervention can wear us out.

We live in a time of weariness. So many things are not the way we want them to be. They are not the way they ought to be. We long for the day when everything that is wrong will be set right. We look forward to that great day. We wait.

Many Advent readings and songs invite us to wait patiently. The great day we anticipate is worth the wait. The one whose birth we celebrate at Christmas is worth the wait. “He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:32–33)

When waiting for something really important, we can be worn out in the waiting. Christmas reminds us that the wait is worth it.

One popular Christmas carol reminds us – The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. (If you can name the carol – let me know in the form below!)

The thing you are waiting for is yonder – but it is coming.

Merry Christmas,

Kent Landhuis
Pastor of Teaching & Leadership

Can you name the carol?

    Good Tidings in Small Group

    Good Tidings in Small Group

    In my family small group, full of ladies and gentlemen, we had one of the best conversations we’ve ever had. After more than a year, we are getting to know each other in a way that is allowing for us to be vulnerable with each other. We are using Alisa Childers’ new small group study guide and video called “Another Gospel?”

    In our study was an inventory on key Christian doctrines. The first question asks “On a scale from 1-10, how equipped are you to deal with assaults on core Christian doctrines?”

    1 – I think I’m a Christian, but please don’t ask me any questions.

    5 – I know the answers to some things but not to others.

    7 – I enjoy conversations about faith. Even if I don’t have all the answers, I love to be challenged to learn more.

    10 – I love it when people ask questions and debate because I think I have good answers.

    This was only the first question in a long list. We found ourselves sharing about our beliefs and our honest faith questions. This was truly a great way to spend an evening with merry gentlemen and ladies. Christ is our savior and at times we do go astray. Thank God for a small group to be vulnerable with about my faith questions.

    Good Tidings of Joy,

    Lindsey Ungs
    Connection & Communication Architect

    Can you name the carol?

      Hate Is Strong and Mocks the Song

      Hate Is Strong and Mocks the Song

      You don’t have to watch TV, listen to the radio, or surf social media long to understand “hate is strong”.  Coverage of the war in Ukraine, hate is strong. Political diatribes villainizing the other party in the aftermath of the midterm elections. Hate is strong! Stories or statistics of human trafficking. Hate is strong.  The latest mass shooting in Virginia. Hate is strong. A sign saying, “My neighbor is a Karen.” Hate is strong. Earlier this month Cathy and I went to a fundraiser for Shirley’s House of Hope, a faith based domestic violence shelter. We heard testimonies about how hate was strong in the lives of these women. However, these testimonies all shared hope. The women encountered the hope of Christmas at Shirley’s. The Christmas song goes “for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on Earth, good will to men.” Peace on earth, good will to men. The women told stories of how they found peace in Jesus.  Not just peace from the violence in their lives, but “Shalom.”

      “The ancient Hebrew concept of peace, rooted in the word “shalom,” meant wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity, carrying with it the implication of permanence.” (

      They found wholeness, health, and prosperity in counseling and through relationship with Jesus.  This is the peace on earth we celebrate during the advent season. It is a holy peace that we cannot attain on our own, or earn by our good deeds. This Shalom comes from abiding in Jesus, who abides in the Father.

      Peace, lasting peace, transcends the situations and flaws of our own personal lives because it doesn’t come from us. It comes from God. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:3–4). (

      Trust in the LORD!  Trust in Jesus!  When Jesus is talking to His disciples on the night of His arrest, He promises the Holy Spirit will come upon them to equip them. Also, He teaches that they are to abide, like vines in the branch. In between these teachings, in John 14:27, Jesus promises His peace to the disciples.

      “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

      So, during this advent season I encourage you to turn off the TV. Unplug from social media. Put away your “Karen” signs. And abide in Jesus. Encounter the prince of peace, who promised to leave His peace with us.  Meet Jesus. Talk with Jesus. Seek peace with Jesus.

      Steve Poole
      Director of Youth & Young Adults

      Can you name the carol?

        Two Plants

        Two Plants

        This song is about two plants, both evergreen plants that are traditional Christmas symbols. One represents the Crown of Thorns that the Savior wore during His Passion. This plant has little sharp points all around its edges, much like a thorn, and one can easily prick a finger by touching the leaf carelessly. The berries represent the drops of Blood that Jesus shed. This plant is held by tradition to be of the same plant that the wood of the Cross was said to come from.

        The other plant is so perennially green, that it symbolizes fidelity and immortality or eternal life in Christ. In addition, it clings to its support as it grows, which symbolizes Christian’s attachment and undying affection for our merciful Savior.

        Gary Sager
        Ambassador of Care

        Can you name the carol?