Last night, Sunday November 27, was a very moving time for me as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Nitro. We extended a call to Matt Ash in the morning worship service to be our youth pastor, beginning Monday, December 12. Everyone was upbeat in response to what God had accomplished by bringing us together with this gifted young man. The events of yesterday evening however, touched me deeply and reminded me just how blessed I am to pastor this particular congregation.
At 6:00 p.m. we gathered together in the fellowship hall to enjoy soup and sandwiches, and to prepare for the Advent decoration service in the sanctuary. We had all ages present around the tables – infants squirming, children finishing crafts, youth laughing and talking, younger and older adults serving food and interacting with one another. Then as we moved to the sanctuary for the service, all ages were participating in the program. Regina Cummings coordinated the activities, Tony Nutter led the worship, and various youth played instruments and ran the audio and video equipment. Adults spoke and read, and the children sang and recited poems about Christmas. Young Kaylee Babbitt inspired everyone with her stirring Christmas solo at the end of the evening. Everyone came together for one purpose: to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
What makes Christmas so special here at First Baptist Church of Nitro? It isn’t the decorations or the music or the programming, although all those things have their places. What makes Christmas so special for us is our spiritual family.
Most of us enjoy our physical families over the holidays – younger and older get together and celebrate the season. Our spiritual family however, is in many ways characterized by deeper and more intimate bonds. Children, youth and adults all come together to worship our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Jesus we have life, life together and life forever. Jesus bridges the generation gap, He makes it possible for us to be one despite all the differences that a variety of ages brings. Although many things in our world have changed and are changing, Jesus never changes. He is the One who brings us together as one family.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1-6,
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
In short, Jesus brings us all together this Christmas season in a way no other person or possession can do.
More than any other time of the year, we make spending time with our physical families a priority during Christmas. One of the greatest blessings we have here at FBC Nitro is our spiritual family – are you thanking God for them and making time with them a priority? During Christmas, our diverse spiritual family is one of the greatest gifts of all.