Nicole and I had a discussion recently about Christmas. It’s a discussion all parents have. As a parent, what do you do about Santa Clause? Do you talk about him with your children? Do you rouse them up so they are excited about his coming? Do you give presents and write his name on them?
First of all, there is a concern that Santa steals away the true meaning of Christmas. That’s not my concern. It can happen I suppose, but it won’t in a household that genuinely believes and teaches that the true meaning of Christmas is in Christ. Besides, turkey dinner, presents, and family can steal the show from Jesus just as much as jolly old St. Nick.
So here’s the question that was, for me, the troubling one. Does pretending that Santa is real set your child up to be a disillusioned adult? Does telling a child such fairy tales prepare a child to treat God like a fairy tale? If you pretend with your children, will they grow up to think religion is a pretense?
Pretending to believe in Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny involves the same mindset as pretending to believe in Thomas the Train or pulling on a wishbone. It involves the imagination, and pretending is simply the imagination at play. So if pretending with your child is wrong, then you’d better stop buying him toys and send him right off to boot camp. But if there is more to this life than meets the eye, then you need to encourage your child to see with the mind’s eye…that is, with the imagination.
It is important to pretend with your children, because imagination is a good thing and it needs to be active. To be a Christian you have to have an imagination. In the beginning God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light! Can you imagine? Well, actually, you can only imagine, because you weren’t there when it happened, and CBC wasn’t there to capture the footage. You can only imagine because such an act of God goes beyond anything you have ever experienced. You can only imagine, but that doesn’t mean it’s false. Santa Clause is not real, but that’s not because he’s imaginary, it’s because he’s only imaginary. He is the result of the imagination at play. But playful imagination is just practice for real imagination. Some imaginary things are real, like the invisible God (John 1:18), the God who hides himself (Isaiah 45:15), the God who has only been seen by the Son (John 6:46).
Kids don’t need their parents to police their imagination; they need parents who can imagine more than they can measure. They need parents who can believe more than they can see. Kids won’t be misled by a playful parent. Kids are smart. They’ll notice that, somewhere along the way, their parents stopped talking to them about Santa Clause and Thomas the Train, but they didn’t stop talking about the love of God in Christ Jesus, and that can only be because they know it’s for real. Blessed are those who have imagined and still believe.
Merry Christmas! Pastor Nathan
FALL VOTERS ASSEMBLY
Fall Voters Meeting - All members of Immanuel who are 18 years of age or older are invited to participate in the meeting of the Voter’s Assembly which is scheduled for Sunday December 2nd following the 11:00 a.m. worship service. We will hear reports from our various Boards as well as vote on the 2013 proposed budget.
Pastor Nathan will be teaching a course in Martin Luther’s Small Catechism Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. beginning on December 6th. This class is a prerequisite for anyone without a Lutheran background who is interested in membership here at Immanuel. Moreover, since studying the Catechism ought to be a regular part of one’s devotional life, it is recommended that all members, especially those in leadership positions within our church, avail themselves of this opportunity to revisit the catechism. If you are interested, please contact Pastor Nathan. 403.915.4336; email@example.com.
The “Empty Spools” Quilting Group recently presented quilts and afghans to Streets Alive and The Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre. Two quilts were also donated to our Annual Silent Auction fundraiser. We continue to meet on Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join us to knit, crochet or quilt. Thank you to everyone who has donated money and materials towards this outreach project.
GERMAN LESSONS AND CAROLS
Immanuel Lutheran Church will also host our annual German language service of Lessons and Carols here on Dec. 9th at 2:30 p.m. Walter Egli will serve as master of ceremonies. While there is no admission, we will take a free will offering in support of Interfaith Food Bank. Please consider attending, and bring a friend who would appreciate hearing the Christmas message and singing the familiar carols in the German language.
On December 16th after the Children’s Christmas Concert, please stick around for a Wagon Ride and Carols. Kathy and Larry Canfield will be bringing two wagons and horses for a great afternoon. There will be Hot Chocolate and Cookies in the fellowship hall while the rides are going.
Special services during the Christmas season are as follows:
Dec. 16 The Sunday School children will hold their Christmas concert during the 11:00 a.m. worship service.
Dec. 24 Christmas Eve Candlelight services will be held at 5:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 25 Christmas Day Worship at 11 a.m. with Holy Communion
10TH ANNUAL TURKEY DINNER AND SILENT AUCTION
Yet again, the support and attendance was overwhelming for our annual Turkey Dinner and Fundraiser. The event raised $9,500.00 combined with $500.00 worth of matching funds from FaithLife Financial, totaled just over $10,000 and of course, it is due to the generosity of members and friends of Immanuel. A very special thanks goes out to all of the many volunteers, donors, guests and organizers that gave their time, talents, and money, to make this wonderful evening a success. It is truly a blessing that we have such a wonderful congregation and facility in which we can invite our friends and family to fellowship and enjoy a fabulous dinner and some friendly bidding competition.
“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1: verse 15)
The following prayer for Advent is taken from this winter’s Portals of Prayer: “O most merciful Father, the season of Advent prepares us for the celebration of Your Son’s birth and reminds us of His second coming on the clouds in glory. Awaken my heart from its slumber, enliven my faith to prepare for Your return, and grant me Your Spirit to be about the mission of the Church until You call me home in glory. In Jesus’ name and for His sake I ask it. Amen.”
“What is Christmas?!” The Sunday School Christmas Pageant will take place during the 11 a.m. worship service on Sunday, December 16th.
There will be two rehearsals for the Christmas Pageant. The rehearsals will take place after the 11 a.m. worship service on December 2 and after the 11 a.m. worship service on December 9th. Regular Sunday School classes will be over at noon on both days so that we can practice for the concert immediately after the church service. The practices will take about half an hour. The children will have a special Sunday School activity after their concert on December 16th. They will participate in some fun Christmas activities with their teachers and receive their Christmas presents from the Sunday School.
Our winter curriculum has arrived. The children have covered “The Birth of John Foretold” and “The Birth of Jesus Foretold”, November 18th and November 25th. On December 2nd, they will learn about “The Birth of John,” and on December 9th they will learn about “The Birth of Jesus”. The Sunday School children are two weeks ahead of the regular church calendar for their advent lessons so that they get in their advent lessons before Christmas holidays begin.
There will be no Sunday school on Sunday, December 23rd or on Sunday, December 30th.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son.” (John 3: 16) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
LITTLE LAMBS CHRISTIAN PRESCHOOL
Little Lambs Christian Preschool will be having their Christmas Program on Monday December 10th, at 6:00 PM in the church sanctuary. The children will sing some songs, and there will be a slideshow, followed by a time of fellowship with Christmas snacks and beverages. Members of the congregation are welcome to attend.
The preschool is also seeking a volunteer(s) to help out with toy cleaning. If you would like to help, please call Tanya at 403-892-6627.
PRAYING MOTHERS GROUP
Whether your children are adults, live a continent away or just down the street or you have young children, teenagers, young adults still living at home or grandchildren they all need your prayers. By praying for them regularly, you can have an enormous influence on their spiritual, emotional and physical well being. Pray provides comfort and security, and also fulfills the mission the Lord has for us to pray for each other and bear one another’s burdens. I cannot think of any better way to truly love your children/grandchildren than by lifting them up in prayer on a consistent basis. A small group is meeting Tuesday afternoon usually from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. You are welcome to join us. Call Katherine Canfield for more information or to confirm time. 403-756-2149/403-327
CREATION’S BALLET FOR JESUS
The heavens are more than decoration – God said they were “for signs and seasons [or ‘appointments’]”; they are to “declare God’s Glory”. This presentation takes a trip back to the skies over Bethlehem and Jerusalem for Jesus’ birth and death. Discover how the Creator-set heavenly events precisely align with the God Commanded Old Testament festival year, telling the HIS-Story in the sky what is happening on the earth. This is a powerful reminder that our God is indeed great and that our faith is well-founded. Discover the Gospel in the sky, discover who the Magi really were and their links to the Jews, and follow the footprints of our God within His creation. A three session presentation of about 1 ½ hours each is being offered by Pastor Jim Lindeman. For more information see the signup sheet on the fellowship hall bulletin board. They will be held three Fridays, Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 at 7:00 p.m.
Save the Date Jan. 27, 2013 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. for Inter-Lutheran Fellowship Fun Curling Bonspiel at the Coaldale Granite Club/ Coaldale recreation centre. Cost is $6.00 per person. Signup Sheet is post on the bulletin board by the fellowship hall.
DO YOU HAVE A GIFT FOR THE CULINARY ARTS?
Enjoy cooking & meal preparation? Share your gift/talent with your congregation! Please consider being open to receiving a phone call and assisting on a as needed basis to prepare the occasional meal for those in our church family who may be recovering from surgery, hospitalization, death in the family, a family crisis or adapting to the birth of a new baby. A signup is on the bulletin board by the fellowship hall please add your name & phone number to the Food Train to receive a phone call to assist with the preparation of the occasional meal.
Are you recovering at home? Just had a new baby? Know of someone in our church family who would benefit or appreciate a meal due to illness, recovery etc. Please call the Parish Coordinator, Katherine Canfield or church office 403-327-4336
MOMS & TOTS GROUP
A Moms & Tots group is a group of mothers of preschoolers [a mother of a child from conception through kindergarten]. This group is an opportunity to build community by providing an open, caring and accepting atmosphere where women can come together to share this important season of life. A place for mentoring where mature women listen, encourage and offer information and perspectives gained through experience. A place for practical instruction, teaching focuses on areas of common interest, offering inspiration and information that is relevant to the life of a mother. Interested? A Moms & Tots group would meet once a week for a couple hours. Please place your name and phone number on the signup sheet on the bulletin board outside the fellowship hall. We need approximate numbers to budget and for child care. Ideally we hope to have a group up & running in January 2013. If you need more information please call Katherine Canfield Parish Coordinator 403-327-4336 or 403-756-2149.
NEW DRIVEWAY SIGNAGE AT IMMANUEL
Members of Immanuel may have already noticed a new “No Parking” sign which has been placed along the curb outside the church’s main entrance (north side). The driveway outside this entrance (which also links the east and west parking lots) is a “Fire Lane” and it always has been. Directly across the driveway is a Fire hydrant which gives fire fighters easy access to the church in case of a fire and in the event of a medical emergency in the church, the driveway also provides easy access for an ambulance and paramedics. For that reason, the Fire Department does not allow “parking” a vehicle in that driveway. However, congregation members are still permitted to pull-up to the front door for off-loading equipment and bulky items and to allow the disabled to exit a vehicle and be helped into the building. Once people or items have been off-loaded, your vehicle must be parked in the parking lot. We understand many people were likely unaware of the ‘Fire Lane’ designation and it hasn’t been an issue until recently. Now, increased use at the church and a growing Pre-School, has meant more traffic in the driveway. A growing number of vehicles are being parked in the Fire lane during the weekday, which has created a safety issue for children and parents entering and leaving the church and necessitated placement of the sign. When the weather warms in the spring, Council will also look into having ‘No Parking” painted directly on the pavement. Dori Modney Council Chairman
Immanuel Lutheran Church Financial Statement October 31, 2012
MISSION OFFERINGS A-BC District Mission Donations for Month $50.00 A-BC District Mission Donations to Date 2,588.00 CLWR Mission Donations for Month 1,220.00 CLWR Mission Donations to Date 2,991.00
BANK ACCOUNTS Servus Credit Union Cheq. Acc.t Balance $29,917.33 Dedicated Accounts Balance 19,504.45 Church Extension Term Deposit -10,087.93
CURRENT MONTH Budgeted Income 31,897.08 Actual Income 30,250.23 Budgeted Disbursements 31,897.08 Actual Disbursements 27,029.41
YEAR TO DATE Budgeted Income 318,970.83 Actual Income 282,872.66 Budgeted Disbursements 318,970.83 Actual Disbursements 308,456.94
Two little boys, ages 8 and 10, are excessively mischievous.
They are always getting into trouble and their parents know if any mischief occurs in their town, the two boys are probably involved. The boys' mother heard that a preacher in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The preacher agreed, but he asked to see them individually. The mother sent the 8 year old in the morning, with the older boy to see the preacher in the afternoon.
The preacher, a huge man with a deep booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, "Do you know where God is, son ?" The boy's mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there wide-eyed with his mouth hanging open. So the preacher repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God ?! Again, the boy made no attempt to answer. The preacher raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face and bellowed, "WHERE IS GOD?!" The boy screamed & bolted from the room, ran directly home and dived into his closet, slamming the door behind him.
When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, "What happened ?" The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time !" "GOD is missing, and they think WE did it !"
20 Rocky Mountain Blvd West Lethbridge AB T1K 8E1 (403) 327-4336 firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours and worship schedule
Office hours: 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM, Monday - Friday
Sunday Worship (summer schedule starts June 16): 10:00 AM - Combined Service - Holy Communion on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month