Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

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Sharing the Gift of Presence

 December 13, 2017
Dear Friends,

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job comes this time of year.
This morning I got to play Santa Claus. No I didn't have the red suit
and white beard. There were no reindeer to propel me on my way.
I traveled through town in a gray minivan wearing my red parka.

I had the delightful task of delivering several sacks of gifts to families
on our Christmas list. No need to check it twice to see who was naughty
or nice. I got to "Ho, Ho, Ho" as my journey took me to the homes of
a few people in church who had experienced a tough year.

It is what a church does for family. I learned that lesson forty nine years
ago. As a boy of ten I went to my first church Christmas party. It had been
a horrible year. My natural mom was a troubled soul. That summer she
deserted the family. My dad had become a single parent.

Christmas was coming and things were looking bleak. That's when my
aunt stepped up and invited us to go to church with her. I look back now
and I can see the Holy Spirit working. At the same time one of my dad's
friends reached out and said, "Come to church with me."

Both of them went to the Baptist Church in Lebanon. Before long that
congregation became a safe space for my little brother and me. The
church embraced us. There were plenty of gifts given over the years.
The best one was knowing you belonged to a family that cared.

That Christmas in the late 1960's became the first of many happy times
we had as part of the church family. We learned about the love of God and
experienced it firsthand. I thought of that today as I went dashing through
the snow (or what was left of it) to make my deliveries.

Christmas isn't so much about decorating, shopping and hosting parties
as it is about presence. That was the message that the shepherds received.
The good news of great joy was that God was coming to be with us. He
was going to meet them where they were.

Want to make this a great Christmas? Spend time with the important
people in your life. Tell them you love them. Then show them you love
them. Presents are nice. Your presence is nicer. Then invite them to church
with you and watch them light them up with joy.

Merry Christmas! See you in church.
Pastor Cal Lord's Weekly Epistle
Pastor Cal's Weekly

Every week Pastor Cal
writes a weekly column for
the Spirit Page of the
Norwich Bulletin.

He also sends it out to
members and friends of
the church via e-mail.

E-mail him at
calstigers@gmail.com if
you want to be added to
the weekly list.
Pastor Cal's
Archived Epistles