Hope Notes 12/01/2021

December 1, 2021

Hello Hoper~
I have a confession.  I don’t like decorating for Christmas.  There – I’ve said it.  Please don’t judge me; it doesn’t make me a Grinch by any means!  I will also admit that, as much as I enjoy celebrating Christmas with my family, the whole holiday season is not an easy one for me (but that’s a story for a different day!)  As I believer, I am overwhelmed by the thought of Jesus stepping out of eternity and into a fallen world. Giving up His rightful place in the glories of heaven. Setting all that aside to live among us here on earth.  To become the Lamb of God. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38)  That alone makes Christmas something worthy of celebration. I just don’t like the decorating and consumerism frenzy that is often unleashed at this time of year.  I admit I have been called the “Christmas Lights Nazi” because I am disturbed by how early the lights go up; I always wish Thanksgiving would get more than a passing nod before we plunge into the ‘real’ holidays.  Still, I do enjoy the warmth and coziness of a lighted Christmas tree in a darkened room, surrounded by family and friends.  I like giving gifts to those I love that have been carefully picked to bring joy and reflect how much they mean to me.  I especially love what goes on at Hope during the Christmas season – the Christmas Choir, the Children’s Christmas Program, the Christmas Eve Service.  I love seeing our church decorated (hey I didn’t say I don’t like decorations…….I just don’t like doing the decorating!!), and noticing the heightened awareness of giving to others. This is also the only time of year when you will hear Christ proclaimed over the loudspeakers in public places!  I know this has been a rather rambling paragraph; I guess what I’m trying to say is that no matter how each of us feels about the holidays, as believers our touchstone is the birth of Christ.  I wouldn’t know how to celebrate Christmas without that and I am thankful we attend a church where we are continuously drawn back to Jesus’ birth as our focus.  As we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child this Christmas, let’s remember that we are commemorating the plan of God for salvation which began in eternity past.

Ready to celebrate the Gift that began in a manger and ended on a cross – Lois

Waiting for a Savior (Matthew 1:18-21)
We are all waiting for Christmas. Some parts of that are really enjoyable: we get to see Christmas lights night after night and listen to music that fills us with wonder. But other parts are not so great.  We feel the pressure to shop for the perfect gifts, while our schedules seem to overload more than ever. For many, we’re trying to figure out how to manage all of our social and family desires and obligations around Christmas.  Waiting isn’t always fun.  And that’s true far beyond Christmas. Today we’re going to look at a moment in this story when we can see how real the story of Mary and Joseph is in the waiting. And we’ll see what the Christmas story tells us about waiting as the children of God.  There’s a lot more hope in waiting than we usually experience so let’s see what the Lord has to show us!

Jeremiah 33:3
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

If you’ve been following along with the Hope bible reading plan, we’re ending the year on 1&2 Corinthians. Stay tuned for more information about our plan for 2022! 

Join us Sunday mornings at 8:00 in Pastor Mark’s office to pray for that morning’s services. Contact Bob Baumiester for more information (rbaumiester@gmail.com).    ANNOUNCEMENTS
ADOPT A FAMILY: There’s still time to participate! 
Looking for a way to help a family in need this Christmas? Hope Youth has once again partnered with Adopt a Family to serve families who can’t afford to purchase presents this year. To participate, visit the Amazon wishlist by clicking 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. Purchases need to be made by December 13th

We’ll be having our annual business meeting after the second service. Partners will be able to vote on the budget at the meeting, or by using a signed ballot if you’re unable to stay. Copies of the proposed budget are available in the lobby now. Contact Pastor Mark or a member of the elder team with any questions (Mike Hartwell, Ryan Winstel, Damon Briggs, Pastor Dave.) 

Hope Staff is looking for willing hearts & hands who have an hour available to serve during the following times: Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons or Saturday evenings. If this sounds like something you could do, sign-up in the lobby and we will contact you with more information. Any questions about volunteering can be directed to Emily DiLorenzo at emily@hopechrsitianfellowship.org

We’re so excited for the holidays and the opportunity to get together and celebrate Christmas with our Hope ladies! Mark your calendars now for Friday, December 10th at 6:30pm. All ladies (post high-school and up) are invited to our Christmas Extravaganza and Ornament Exchange! Please join us for a night of fun, a wrapped Christmas tree ornament exchange ($10 or under), and a devotion to remind us that “every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of light.” Sign up in the front lobby!  See Dana Ott with any questions or reach her at danaott@hopechristianfellowship.org. Feel free to invite friends or family – the more the merrier! 

Mark your calendars for these upcoming Christmas events that you won’t want to miss! Please note: None of these services will be live-streamed, however Pastor Mark’s message will be recorded and posted to our YouTube and Facebook. 

  • WonderZone Christmas Program: December 12th at both services 
  • GoZone Christmas Program: December 19th at both services 
  • Candlelit Christmas Eve Services: 4:30 & 6:00 
  • Christmas Cantata: December 26th at both services

Please note that the following regular programs are on hiatus for the month of December and will resume in the new year!

  • God’s Girls
  • Young Adults
  • Wednesday Night Bible Study
  • Small Groups

We all long for a life that matters. We also all receive conflicting messages on what kind of life matters. Join us for this weekend away at Delanco Camp as we explore together what it means to have a life that matters and what we can do to attain it. The cost is only $25 and includes meals for the weekend. See Dave Hallahan for more information.

Join us Tuesday, 12/21 at 7:30 for some Christmas fun! Details coming soon. 

Join us on Sundays from 6-8:00 to hangout, have snacks, play games, and deepen our relationships with God! Open to all middle school & high school students. Any questions, contact Pastor Dan (danlein@hopechristianfellowship.org)

WONDERZONE CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: Practices happening now!
Christmas is one of our favorite seasons in the WonderZone! This year we’ll celebrate and sing, “Hooray for Baby Jesus!” at our WonderZone Christmas program on December 12th at both services! Be sure to get your child’s practice CD and help your little one get ready for their big performance! If you have any questions about this year’s WonderZone Christmas program, please contact Kara May at karamay@hopechristianfellowship.org

GOZONE CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: Practices happening now!
It’s October, which means the holiday season is upon us and it is time to start looking forward to our children’s Christmas program! The GoZone Christmas program, “Secret of Snowflake County,” will be performed on Sunday, December 19th at both services. Make sure your child receives their listening CD if they haven’t already. If you have any questions, contact Pastor Ryan at ryanmoreno@hopechristianfellowship.org