Over the past six weeks I have seen incredible unity among churches who have never partnered together. The tragedy that we all have been living in has softened hearts to receive prayer at a rate that I have never seen before. People are hurting and it’s impossible to hide it. As you look around public spaces it is common to see someone weeping or you feel the stress level in our city at a heightened level. This is not just the recovery from a wildfire; this is an historical event of epic proportion that it is impossible to fully comprehend.
As the ridge was opened this week for residents to see their properties, a new wave of grief has crashed upon us. The visible anger is seen and felt in the road rage of traffic and the city is reporting that traffic accidents are up by 35%. I have heard so many people say how exhausted they are, and they are longing for home.
Will you choose to draw nearer to God at Christmas?
As we navigate through this Christmas season with all the events, shopping and grieving… You may be tempted to answer nonchalantly, “sure, this is going to be a real special time with God next week….” don’t be so assured. Between the schemes of the evil one, balancing the demands of family, your own expectations and navigating all the recent emotions, you’ll be tempted to take a holiday from your faith. That’s why you need to be intentional about getting time alone with God and planning events and moments that will draw you closer to Jesus.
While all this is happening the leaders of Christian churches of the North State continue to meet together to strategically work to bring relief and hope. You can take advantage of the things being planned to draw you closer to Jesus.
Opportunities to be intentional during this season:
The Paradise area churches will have a unified Christmas Eve service at Paradise Alliance church. This is going to be a moment in time set aside to focus on Jesus’ coming to earth, but it will also contain healing moments of community. If you are living in this area, you are invited. You don’t have to be from the ridge to enjoy this event – we have all experienced trauma in this season, and we all need healing. The services are at Noon and 4pm (the 2pm service is full). Tickets are required but limited. To get your free tickets click here.
We will also be holding Neighborhood Church Christmas Eve services at 3pm and 7pm. Our hope is to have a sweet time of hearing the Christmas story, of singing Christmas songs and focusing on Jesus.
Usher in the New Year with Butte County Prays sponsored time of prayer at our church from 7pm - 1am on New Year’s Eve. You can drop in and enjoy some focused worship and prayer time that evening, taking some time to commit 2019 to the Lord. For more information click here.
While these are great opportunities, the most helpful thing for you might be to take a walk outside, to enjoy some silence, simply seek your Savior, and bring your heart to Him.
So, from those of us on the Neighborhood Church staff, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, and we are praying that in this grieving season, you will find precious moments of experiencing God’s love, joy, and peace. May God grant you very specific words of direction and encouragement for the next calendar year.