I was saying to my wife Jolene over the Christmas break that I just can’t go back to regular radio stations yet. I need some kind of Christmas music buffer before I let go of the holiday and get back into the regular rhythm of the year. Because when December 1st hits, I switch over to our local all-day Christmas radio station, and that’s what I listen to. I watch awful Christmas movies with ridiculous plots and acting. We eat sweet treats and relax on the couch more than normal. But once New Years hits, it’s just over. I gotta stop listening to Christmas music, stop watching the bad movies, and go back to the normal grit and grind of the year.
Or do I?
Before I was a Christian, this was certainly the case. Christmas was over, and it’d be this huge breakdown. As soon as we took the tree out of the house it was like, right…it’s over. I remember feeling so depressed in the early weeks of January, because all the joy, all the happiness, all the suspense was suddenly gone, until next Christmas.
Since becoming a Christian though, I can see that my attitude has changed. Sure, I still wish that the Christmas season persisted another month…or 11. I still wish that I didn’t feel the need for the Christmas buffer post new year. But the joy and happiness of Christmas, doesn’t leave me like it did when I was younger.
I was reminded afresh about the hope that we get in the baby Jesus. The hope that this act of God brings to me, my family, my church, and this world. And that message of hope is not just a Christmas message. We don’t just get Jesus for the month of December, then have the rest of the year to fend for ourselves. No, we get him for the other 11 months as well. Christmas is the arrival of that hope and joy, but afterwards, he’s here, he’s arrived. The hope we’d been waiting for is present. Granted, we’re 2000 years after that arrival. But we remind ourselves of the fact that Jesus is here – He doesn’t go away and come back each December. He is here, He has been here, and He will be here until the end of the age.
I hope you’ve had a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and it is my prayer that you carry the hope of Jesus with you throughout 2020.
Mike Sanders, Youth Director
In June of this year, the men at Calvary had the privilege of hearing Dr Michael Haykin speak at a Saturday morning breakfast. He gave several different stories regarding physical presence as being important for friendship, and one stood out to me. Recently Michael had injured himself so that he could no longer travel. As a professor in a southern US seminary, Michael would travel there to teach but since he could not travel, Michael used Skype to give the lectures. What he noticed was that while he was doing the distance education, no one asked questions or shared comments. It was not until he resumed going to the campus that the two-way dialogue resumed. Can you relate to his experience?
As a church, we need each other. Some members of our church are longing to come to church but cannot because of their health concerns. Do you have a similar attitude of longing, or are you satisfied just listening to a podcast or a video? These things are good for the short term but you need human touch, a friendly hello, to be helping someone, discipling someone and being discipled.
When live theatre, concerts, are lectures still a big part of our society, why do we have such an issue with meeting together regularly as a church? When you listen alone, sing alone, or pray alone you should miss the power and impact of corporate or small group prayer and worship. You should long for it.
I've included a link to an article titled, "Seriously, Go to Church". Please have a read, it is not long. Then let’s meet face to face to discuss why the local church should be important in our lives and what we can do to make it so. I’ll buy the coffee.
Please remember that being a Christian is not a solo event. We need each other ( I Corinthians 12).
Peter Klahsen, Elder Chair
I have some potentially shocking news for you, so perhaps you should sit down.
Ready? Here goes.
Not everyone likes small talk.
Shocking, I know, but true.
Small talk is crafted around the idea that you have a small window of time to engage with someone, usually a stranger, so it’s best to keep the conversation light and shallow. Acceptable topics: Weather (“beautiful day!”), general health (“fine”), observable circumstances (“Look at that cute puppy!”), and common aggravations (“The bus is late again!”). Unacceptable topics: Politics, politics, and politics.
For close friends, small talk is the stuff we use to get to the bigger conversation. “How was your week? Not good? Tell me more about that…”
Each week after the service we serve coffee and snacks with the intention of slowing us down a bit. Connect time keeps us from running for the parking lot and jumping into the next thing in our day. It allows us to linger in the presence of other believers, strengthen friendships, and build into one another.
Unfortunately, we tend to speak with the same group of people each week. They’re the people you came with, you sit with, or you socialize with outside of Sunday morning. Those are the people you have actual conversations with, and for everyone else it is just small talk.
As we have come through the Convictions of Discipleship series and have been made aware of the importance of helping others “take a step to the right”, I wonder if we might better use the minutes after the message to encourage one another and to build one another up to be Christ-learners. Could those first five minutes build into someone, strengthen their faith, challenge their thinking, and deepen their connection to the local church?
On Thanksgiving weekend we gave everyone name tags with coloured stickers, and after the service you were encouraged to talk with someone outside of your normal circle of friends who had the same sticker as you.
Greens greeted the greens, purples parlayed with purples, yellows yelled at yellows (Not really, but there’s not that many ‘y’ words).
Those stickers made it much easier for those who don’t have a close circle of friends to talk with others, and to make some new connections. Plus there was the added benefit of a name tag, so you could try to learn a few names! Sure there was some small talk at first, but it was really fun to overhear some of you go out on a limb and ask about family, holiday traditions, and your favourite pie recipes!
What do we take from this? In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we want to challenge you to spend the first five minutes after each service speaking with someone outside of your usual group of friends. You might find that what begins with small talk can blossom into a disciple-making relationship of helping someone else take a step to the right and grow in their faith as they follow Jesus Christ.
If you need come conversation starters, come and talk to us. We’re putting together some material to help you better engage with others after the message, and we’d love for you to test it out and give us your feedback.
This week, let’s give our first five to God and His mission, and see what He can do as we encourage one another in the faith.
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