Christmas Eve is Just Around the Corner! // M-Note 12.18.2020

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Gathering,

One of my earliest Christmas memories is setting up the nativity set at our house. My mom would bring out the box, and I would usually be responsible for unwrapping each figure and arranging them in the stable. Before I could read (and certainly before I ever read the Bible on my own), I learned the Christmas story through the image of that nativity set. Kids and adults alike often learn the stories of faith that way. Long ago, when much of the population couldn’t read, the stories of faith were told through art, paintings, statues, and stained glass windows. Starting at a young age, we learn faith through what we see and do together, especially around the holidays. The rituals you participate in over the next week helps to shape how you and your family experience Christmas.
 
To help -  The Gathering is hosting a live nativity at the McCausland site parking lot from 4-8pm tomorrow (Saturday) night. Not only will we have real people but live animals! I even think a camel is making an appearance. There will be an audio guide available to lead you through the story, and there is even an opportunity to take communion at the end. Everyone who comes will get a gift bag from us including candles for you to use during Christmas Eve worship.
 
Speaking of Christmas Eve worship – I am incredibly excited about the service next week. I will give you the highlights so that you can make your plans to join us.
 
Where - All Christmas Eve worship services are online only. But don’t worry, at all the livestream times the pastors and other gathering staff will be online to welcome you and chat. We hope you will say hi to us and let us know where you are worshiping!
 
When - There will be early Christmas Eve livestream services Dec. 21, 22, and 23rd at 7pm. On Christmas Eve, there will be 5 livestream times (3, 5, 7, 9, and 11pm) or you can participate in worship anytime on the 24th OnDemand.
 
How – Christmas Eve is available the same way as any weekend worship service. You can watch worship at gatheringnow.org, as well as through our app (available on AppleTV and Roku by searching Gathering STL), YouTube channel, or Facebook.
 
What – While we will miss seeing you in person, I am so excited about Christmas Eve worship. We were able to do it offsite in a creative way that I think you and your family will love. I won’t give it away, but I can assure you no animals were harmed in the making of this worship service. While the setting is a bit different, we will still have much of the tradition that we all love, including Silent Night. You can prepare ahead of time by making sure you have candles for each person in your family to light at the end of worship.
 
Kids – We created a Christmas Eve service for the whole family and it is one that we think your kids will love as well.
 
Mozambique Offering – Yes, once again 100% of The Christmas Eve offering will go to fund clean water in Mozambique. Because of COVID, the need is greater than ever before. Please prepare to give generously. Last year, we raised over $250,000, so I hope you will give a gift that truly matters this year, knowing that it will save lives. You can find information for how to give online, via text, through your bank, or where to mail in a physical check on our online giving page, as well as through our app.
 
Who – We hope that you will invite your family and friends to join for worship, wherever they may live. Do not neglect the power of an invitation. There are many people all around us that need a word of hope and healing this Christmas. Sometimes your simple invitation is all it takes to turn someone’s Christmas into something special. I encourage you to share the details here and personally invite others to worship with The Gathering this Christmas.
 
What to Wear – Hey, there is an upside to being at home. In addition to not having to worry about parking, you can wear whatever you want! Get all dressed up if you like, wear Christmas pajamas. You do you!
 
It has been a year. But Jesus is coming, and in him all things are possible. I am praying for hope and joy for you and your family this Christmas, and I look forward to worshiping with you this Christmas Eve.
 
Peace,
 
Matt

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