A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Monday, December 24, 2018
This Christmas "tree", entirely made of 192 live Poinsettia pots, is in the lobby of the Lancaster General Hospital! Every Tuesday afternoon the poinsettias are watered. It takes a long ladder and a pretty good skill set to keep each plant watered and healthy.
Personal note: Christmas greetings to our family, friends, church and ministry connections, business associates, Daily Encouragement readers and supporters. On Christmas day we will be traveling to Bethlehem* (we may also pass by Nazareth) to visit Stephen's brother Pat and family and will not post a message. We hope to resume our Daily Encouragement postings on Wednesday, December 26.
Message summary: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." These few words contain the very essence of the gospel message describing the greatest and most lasting Gift.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11b).
We are in the midst of the busy holiday season and even early this morning on Christmas Eve many are still shopping, visiting, cleaning, wrapping and delivering gifts, baking and preparing for the eve of Christmas and Christmas day itself. Many are traveling or expecting guests. Late this afternoon we will attend a Christmas Eve church service and then will visit a Living Nativity in Willow Street, PA.
As children we looked forward to all the special events that surrounded the holiday. Thankfully we grew up in Christian homes where we learned much about the first Christmas by playing Bible characters. Brooksyne has fond memories of participating in Christmas plays, including that of an angel who made the glorious announcement, "For unto You is born this day in the city of David". Not only were these plays performed in church settings but, growing up in a far less secular society, many of the Christmas hymns and pageantry were presented in the public schools when we were young. And now the very notion that a candy cane turned upside down may stand for Jesus is a source of controversy.*≤
Due to the further secularization of our society today many are essentially ignorant of the origin of the Christmas celebration. They sing "Itís the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and donít really comprehend the reason why itís wonderful. What a sense of emptiness we'd have if, at the center of the Christmas celebration, we knew not the Christ of Christmas, the reason He came, and that which He accomplished after His arrival. Thatís why, every year, believers purposely focus on the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus along with the prophecies foretold in the Old Testament.
The challenge during this season is to remember the true message of Christmas. It's not the gifts we give or receive from others. It's not the abundance of stuff and gadgets that retailers offer to materialistic America. If we base our estimation of Christmas on what we did or didn't get or what we gave or couldn't give we'll be missing the real point of the reason for the season. The real Christmas message is the gift of God's Son to an unreceptive, apathetic, undeserving, and mocking world.
The daily text is easily recognized by Christians, often recited by children at the annual Christmas program. It was the message from an angelic visitor to some lowly shepherds at the birth of Jesus Christ. In a few words they contain the very essence of the gospel message describing the greatest and most lasting Gift. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
Be encouraged today and have a joyous Christmas,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.
Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.
If you would consider making a donation to our ministry see here for more information.
To donate directly online here. This will open to a page that designates the offering to: WEBER,STEPHEN CHAP, Specialized Chaplaincy Ministry ID: 700001-237376
Please Note: We also provide this easy option due to the convenience, for international supporters, and for those who may not be concerned regarding receiving an official tax deductible receipt. Click here to send an offering using PayPal. This will open to a page that states "Brooksyne Weber"
Stephen & Brooksyne
Friday morning, after our first chaplain visit, we walked through the Lancaster Central Market, which was established in 1730, the oldest continuously operating farmer's market in the country.
(Click on this photo for larger image)
The market has many produce and meat stands run by local farmers and strong presence of "Plain" people. In Pennsylvania Dutch vernacular, "Kom-Essa" means "come eat," a phrase used at mealtimes to call family and friends to the table.
There are more and more stands with an international flavor such as the one operated by this Cuban man, Raidel, who is cutting avocados to make fresh Guacamole. We purchased a couple containers of his delicious guacamole and fresh salsa.
Central Market is in the very heart of Lancaster city so we stepped out to see the city Christmas tree in Penn Square at the junction of King and Queen Streets.
On Friday we stopped in to visit our dear friend, 95 year old Jesse Dourte, at Lancaster General Hospital. I recorded 91 year old Verna Sherick playing "White Christmas" (with her permission). She played numerous Christmas carols, Patriotic tunes, and military theme songs - all without looking at a book of music. Notice how she extends her fingers and how quickly she moves them, especially when she makes the imitation sound of snow falling in "White Christmas". A rare sight to see a 91 year old play so skillfully on the piano! Her years as church pianist is very apparent here.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Peace On Earth Tonight" Video The Collingsworth Family
"My Gift Is Me" Video The Collingsworth Family
Lou, a friend who served for many years as a hospice chaplain in New Jersey, shared regarding his personal experience with smart phone speech we mentioned in Friday's message. "A few years ago I was conducting a grave side service. At one point I said, "For those who believe, someday Jesus will call us to be with Him" and at that very point my cell phone went off. I never carried the phone with me again at a funeral."
* Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania! (google map)
* The candy cane ban *≤
Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas Day)
Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season.
"In Remembrance of Me" pdf This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. For many years Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services. We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling. It is suitable for a church or family gathering
"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with and love the tune.
Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18 pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" pdf
My First Christmas In Heaven This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year. This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.
Christmas Knowledge Test
"Christmas in Heaven" Video Scotty McCreery Probably a bit syrupy for some but a source of comfort for those who have lost a loved one this past year. I heard this song on Saturday on the Gospel greats with Paul Heil.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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