Hope Notes 12/16/2020

December 16, 2020

Hello Hoper! Does your family practice advent? I {wrongly} assumed that every Christian family did… until I brought it up to my husband and he was perplexed! Turns out, not everyone grew up with practicing anticipatory exercise. (If it’s not a tradition you’re familiar with, I’d encourage you to check it out!) This week is the third week of advent, which traditionally is recognized by the theme of joy. I read a quote from Proverbs 31 Ministries this week that said, “We may not think we are ready to open our hearts to the joy of the Christmas season, but perhaps this year, we need it the most.” Can I get an amen? It might seem counterintuitive to practice joy during a year that feels far from it, but that’s exactly what we need to do! Whether you practice advent or not, I would encourage you this week to pursue joy. Maybe that means each day you read a bible verse pertaining to joy, or you make a list of things that brought you joy, or you listen to Hope Daily’s podcast on joy (shameless plug!) I guarantee you will be surprised to see the amount of joyful blessings God is bestowing on you even now! The coolest part about joy is that we are are promised it even in spite of circumstances, because our joy is rooted in Christ our Savior! You will find that intentionally seeking joy this week reminds you of this anchor, and keeps you firm in truth. 

Praying that you are overflowing with joy this Christmas season,
-Emily 
SPIRITUAL CARE  SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE
December 20 – Christmas Surprise (John 1:9-12; Matthew 2:1-16)

Preschool Program
You probably have some place in your home where you are currently hiding presents. Whether you live alone or with a whole gang of people, we recognize that we don’t leave gifts out in the open lest we spoil the surprise for someone. The norm is to wrap the present so that even when we give it, we don’t give away the identity of the item until it is opened. Surprises can be a lot of fun… or they can be quite scary. But did you ever think how much surprise is woven into the fabric of the Christmas story? Actually, the whole idea behind that first Christmas was shocking to God’s people of that time. And today, we can still be surprised when we truly take a look at what the story says. Maybe the best surprise you’ll get this Christmas will be from this part of the Christmas story!

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.”
ANNOUNCEMENTS
ADOPT A FAMILY: Thank you!
All gifts have been collected and delivered to Adopt a Family. We were able to complete all four families’ wish lists! Thank you for your generous hearts!

CHURCH BUSINESS MEETING: 12/27 after 2nd Service
We’ll be having our annual meeting to vote on the 2021 budget and discuss other church plans for the new year. All Hopers are invited to attend, but we need partners for the vote. Partners can vote via in-person ballot if they are unable to stay for the meeting. If you are unable to make it in-person you may watch and vote via Zoom. Contact Pastor Dave (dave@hopechristianfellowship.org) for the Zoom ID. 

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE:
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.)

ONLINE DIRECTORY:
It can be difficult to stay connected to our church family when we all aren’t able to meet regularly in person! Make sure you are a part of our Online Directory so you can get in touch with your fellow Hopers! Our directory is private to Hope, and each member has their own personal login. You can update your info at any time! To be a part, fill out the form here. All new families will be added in January. 

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY:
We will be resuming our study in Ephesians on January 6th via livestream only. We hope you can tune-in on Facebook or YouTube! Bible study will remain virtual for the month of January.

SMALL GROUPS:
We will be resuming small groups in January! We’re also planning several short-term groups that will begin meeting in February. Stay tuned for more details! 

HOPE YOUTH
YOUTH GROUP: Virtual Meeting 12/20
We will not be meeting 12/27 & 1/3. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! 
YOUNG ADULTS
CHRISTMAS PARTY: On Hiatus
Stay tuned for plans for the new year!

HOPEKIDS! MINISTRY 
KIDS CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS & GO ZONE: In-Person Only this Sunday!
This Sunday is our Preschool 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.)
KIDS CHRISTMAS REHEARSALS:
Preschool rehearsal is this Saturday, 12/19 at 10:00am