Most of us who worship at Hamilton Mill United Methodist
Church are from somewhere else. Of course, there are some exceptions. For
example, Corbitt Woods and Brett Duncan grew up right here in Gwinnett County.
We also have people from places like Alabama, North Carolina and Florida. Some
of us have made our way from the Midwest, the Northeast and even a few from the
West Coast, like Nathan Heidger. Some, like our Treasurer, JC Calder, or our
Worship Leader, Jason Arcega have come all the way from Canada! Every week, we
have people in worship that have made their way to our church from other states
or other countries.
Many of you know I am from Buffalo, NY. As I write this
eNote, I am in Niagara Falls, NY, enjoying a cup of coffee and a snowman
cookie. Oddly enough I am listening to "I'll Be Home for Christmas"
by Martina McBride. I am here for a couple days with Rachael. Her mom turns 80
today, and there is a surprise party for her this Friday.
While I would never choose to move back to this area, there
is a small part of me that feels a connection here. Perhaps it is the
familiarity of the geography, or it's the memories that drift to the surface,
or maybe it's a deeper connection to my spirit. For better or worse this place
will always feel like home. Maybe some of you who return home from time to time
know this feeling I am trying to describe.
Many of you will be travelling home for this Christmas
season. Some of you will host family and friends at your home here in Georgia.
Either way, the celebration of Christmas is intertwined with home. Many of you
will spruce up your home by decorating it with lights, and candles and a tree.
You may host friends and family throughout the season. You will take pictures
of your children and grandchildren in front of the tree or a fireplace.
Somewhere in there you many even attend a special dinner with too much food and
not enough space. As a family, you'll attend worship services, sing familiar
carols, or hold a single candle as you sing "Silent Night" on
Christmas Eve. This is all a part of Christmas. It is a time for reunion, for
family, for giving, receiving, but most of all it's time to be home, wherever
that home may be.
In a way, it's kind of ironic that "home" is so
central to our celebration of Christmas. After all, the first Christmas was
about God leaving the comfort and familiarity of heaven to be born to a couple
who were for all intents and purposes homeless. In our faith, God leaves heaven
and comes to earth, to be born as a vulnerable child wrapped tightly in
clothes. He sleeps silently in a feeding trough, as a couple displaced from
their home gaze with wonder. Shepherds, whose homes were tents in a field, come
at the invitation of angels. No religion in the world has a story like this
one. God comes to earth and places himself in the hands of human beings.
I believe God's ultimate destination is the human heart. The
child we remember at Christmas never had a home. He never owned a home. He
never rented a home. Perhaps the reason for this is that not only one home
would do. This Christmas, it occurs to me that when God came to earth, He was
coming home; not to Buffalo, or Charlotte or even Calgary, but He was coming
home to our hearts. For when God enters our hearts, only then is God truly at
The Risen Jesus says to anyone who will listen,
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens
the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me."
In fact, Jesus even made this invitation to those who worshiped as a church.
And sometimes, even in the church we forget that God wants to live and rule in
This Christmas season, wherever the celebration takes you,
remember that it is about home. It is not just about a decorated, brightly lit
and family filled home but it is about something deeper in the heart -
something that is right, and good and joyful. If it has been a while, open the
door again and invite Him into stay, and let the child born in the manger make
a home in your heart.
This Christmas there will be some great opportunities to
invite God into your heart.
- This Sunday, December 9th our Music and Worship Ministry
will present "Come See the Lamb" at the 8:00am, 9:30am and 11:00am
- Next Sunday, December 16th we'll enjoy a traditional service
of "Lessons and Carols" with musical guest artist Staci Frenes. Then,
Sunday night at 6pm, Staci will hold a benefit concert for The Pantry Ministry
of Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church.
- On Sunday, December 23rd Jason Mincey will be preaching his
- On Christmas Eve, December 24th the services are as follows:
- 3:00pm and 5:00pm
- The Puppet Christmas.
- 5:00pm and 7:00pm
- The Festival of Lights Christmas Eve Service.
- 11:00pm - The
Candlelight Communion Christmas Service.
Come with family and friends. Come with an open heart. Come
expecting to meet Christ.
Niagara Falls, NY