Hope Notes 12/09/2020

December 9, 2020

Dear Friends of Hope ~ I’ll probably get some flak for this, but I really like this time of year when the clocks have been turned back and twilight settles softly on our town well before dinner time. The early darkness beckons us to flood our rooms with buttery yellow light sooner than usual. I like serving dinner in the quietness and coziness of a warm kitchen while night wraps around our windows. (Candle light dinners, anyone?)  It makes me feel safe and content, tucked away inside. On the other hand, it makes my husband feel trapped. Add to that the fact that it also turns quite cold once the clocks are turned back and he is truly not a happy camper. For him, nothing is worse than this shortage of daylight……unless it’s stepping out into a bitter cold black night……at 5:00 pm!     
I know God is not the creator of this time change, but He IS the one who created the darkness and the light. “I form the light and create darkness…” {Isaiah 45:7} I like that we have light and darkness in each 24 hour day.  Unlike Norway, the land of the midnight sun. There the sun shines for all but four hours from late May to late July!  Then from November to January, the sun doesn’t rise at ALL in the town of Tromso, located over 200 miles north of the Artic Circle.  
So…..what is YOUR preference?  Do you embrace the time change or fight against it?  Would you prefer to live in Norway where you have either total sunlight or total darkness? No matter your choice, remember all 24 hours belong to Him!  “The day is yours, and yours also the night….” {Psalm 74:16}
HE is My Light……
December 13 – Christmas for Outsiders (Luke 2:1-20)

Elementary Program
Christmas season often brings up pictures of warm fires in cozy homes with a sweet family gathered together. We talk about the treasured moments we get to spend with those we love at Christmas to the degree that belonging is almost entirely interwoven into the whole feel of Christmas. But many people do not have that kind of togetherness or belonging on Christmas – or at any other time throughout the year.  They feel like outsiders and for many that feeling is painful and filled with overtones of rejection. The ironic thing is that the Christmas story itself is full of outsiders that God chose to include.  If you’re an outsider, you are specifically invited in. And if you are an insider, part of following God is to look for outsiders to include!  We’ll look at a part of the Christmas story today and see how this whole story revolves around outsiders.

VERSE OF THE MONTH: Hebrews 12:1-2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
ADOPT A FAMILY: Deadline to purchase gifts is tomorrow!
Our youth group has partnered with Adopt a Family to serve families who can’t afford to purchase presents this year. To participate visit the Amazon wishlist linked here, and purchase a gift or gifts! Youth Pastor Dan will take care of the rest. If you have any questions, contact him directly at 856-285-9016 or danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org

We’ll be having our annual meeting to discuss and vote on the 2021 budget on Sunday, 12/27 after the second service. All Hopers are invited to attend, but we need partners for the vote. Copies of the budget are available on the sign-up table in the lobby. If you are unable to make it in-person you may join and vote via Zoom. Contact Pastor Dave (dave@hopechristianfellowship.org) for the Zoom ID. 

The 2021 deacon & elder team has been appointed and the updated list of officers can be found on the bulletin board next to the sound booth. Any questions contact Deacon Team Captain, Mike Hartwell, at mhredeemed@gmail.com

We would love for you and your family to join us for an outdoor candlelit Christmas Eve service!!! We are planning to have a 25 minute long service of songs and scripture at 6:00 in the church parking lot. Please arrive early to find parking and get a spot in the circle. We will have hot beverages, candles, and glow sticks for our littlest Hopers! (This event will be weather dependent, and in the event of cancellation we will update social media and our website.)

Did you have an item go missing while at church? Make sure to check our lost and found bin at the back of the auditorium next to the sound booth! We’d love for these items to be reunited with their owners before we donate them elsewhere. Make sure to take a look!

YOUTH GROUP: Sundays at 6:00pm
 Students from 6th to 12th grade are invited to join us for games, snacks, and the Word of God as we engage in fellowship and seek to grow in our relationship with our savior. If you have any questions, please contact our Youth Pastor, Daniel Lein, at danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org
CHRISTMAS PARTY: 12/15 at 7:30pm
Let’s get festive! We’ll have games and snacks. Bring at present that’s $5 or less for the White Elephant gift exchange!

KIDS CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS & GO ZONE: In-Person Only this Sunday!
This Sunday is our Elementary Kids Christmas Program and we will not be live-streaming the kids performances or GoZone. (We will still stream and share Pastor Mark’s message.) This will be the same for our Preschoolers performance on 12/20.
Elementary rehearsal is this Saturday, 12/12 at 10:00am
Preschool rehearsal is Saturday, 12/19 at 10:00am