C3 MERRYLANDS CHRISTMAS PARTY
Christmas is here! And for the last couple of weeks, our C3 Merrylands and C3Cares teams have been 'all hands on deck,' organising volunteers, stuffing hampers, talking with charity agencies and planning surprises. We even hammered together a nativity stable!
Our goal was to reach out into our local community, spread some Christmas cheer, share a message of hope and support people in our area doing it tough at Christmas time. The community response was phenomenal. Numbers on Sunday night exceeded expectations and if you made it along, it was great to host all 300 of you.
A burst of Christmas carols opened the night and these always bring so much joy, especially crowd favourite, O Holy Night. In it, the lines speak of the difference the birth of Christ made, more than 2000 years ago and still today. He is truly the answer for all those needing hope.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels' voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
A MESSAGE OF HOPE
It was my privilege to bring the Christmas message of hope. I know from the stories we heard as we prepared the hampers, that many in the room had experienced great difficulties and personal challenges leading up to Christmas. My prayer is that each person would know that God is available for you and that He loves you with an everlasting love. We know this from His Word and I know this through personal experience.
I am no stranger to difficult seasons and heartache and it was during one of these times that I finally decided to invite Jesus Christ into my life. I was 28 years old and it was the best decision. Time after time, He has shown me that He is a God who is interested in the details of our lives, He is able to do far more than we can imagine and He always keeps His promises.
THERE WILL BE A SIGN!
We know there were many people of different ages and backgrounds who perhaps hadn't yet heard the good news of Jesus Christ. You could be asking, why is there a stable on the stage, why is there a star and what's with the 3 guys in funny hats holding strange gifts?!
It's a birth story that had been long foretold. God had spoken through His prophets for hundreds of years, preparing to do something the world had never seen. He spoke of where, by whom and He even lit the way! Still, many people missed it and still, miss it today. I know I did for a while. But will never again because it's just too important.
You can read some of the prophecies here:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and He will be called Immanuel (God-with-us). Isaiah 7:14
"But you, Bethlehem... though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
THE BIRTH OF JESUS
In the book of Luke, 700 years after these prophecies, the story of the birth of Jesus was recorded. The promises of God had been fulfilled and this is why we celebrate!
We have all sinned and fallen short of God's standards, but God sent a rescuer to make a way for us. This was good news for all people. Since we could not earn our way up to God, God came down for us. This child was the Son of God.
"...The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
The angel came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled by his words and began to wonder about the meaning of this greeting. So the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God! Listen: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. [which means 'to rescue']
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How will this be since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.
“And look, your relative Elizabeth has also become pregnant with a son in her old age—although she was called barren, she is now in her sixth month! For nothing will be impossible with God.”
So Mary said, “Yes, I am a servant of the Lord; let this happen to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38
And the guys in the weird hats, well they're the wise men that followed the star leading to the place in Bethlehem where Christ was born, just as was foretold. You can read about their journey here.
FUN & GAMES
'Mr Christmas' wrapped up our celebration hosting games and giving away prizes. There was also a special visit from Santa and Rudolph came along too! Free dinner packs and show bags were given away and our special guests referred by charity groups received an additional Christmas hamper and Christmas decorations. Combining with our other locations, C3 Church has now distributed over 750 Christmas hampers and gifts this Christmas!
FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS
Our prayer for you is that you discover the miracle of Christmas. That Jesus, our Saviour came for you and made a way for you. We can know Him in a real and meaningful way. Jesus Christ offers hope and life. He gave His life so that we may live. When he died on the cross he did so to reconcile the world to God, not counting our sins against us but offering forgiveness to all who ask in His name.
You can discover more about following Jesus for yourself in our Jesus section, ask for a Bible or get in touch for us to help you.
From our Church family at C3 Merrylands to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas! We hope you come and see us again soon. We're here at 6 pm, upstairs in the Holroyd Centre every Sunday night.
Carly & all the C3 Church Merrylands team.