Bethel Blog

 

PASTOR’S PEN

 
BE BLESSED BY GOD’S WORD THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

The Christmas Letdown

The days before Christmas was always exciting when I was a child. My little sister and I would start thinking about it way sooner than necessary. We repeatedly paged through the J.C. Penny Christmas catalog, circling the toys we wanted. Once Thanksgiving passed, we would gently press mom and dad to break the rules and put up the Christmas tree before their wedding anniversary of December 11. December was filled with school Christmas programs, church Christmas programs, Friday nights shopping, cookie baking, tree decorating, and so much more all in the lead-up to the holiday.
 
For all those years growing up, we attended the Sunday School Christmas program at church on Christmas Eve at 7:30 (the last start was because most families were farm families). One or two times in those years my dad was Sunday School superintendent, so we had to be there by 7:00 to make sure any last-minute details got attention. Then, it was off to Grandma and Grandpa Tilstra’s for the extended family Christmas gathering. This party never got started until almost 10:00 and never ended before 1:00 Christmas morning. During the 10-to-15-minute drive home, I watched the snow-covered fields fly by my window, gleaming in the bright moonlight…and the stars seemed to shine brighter than other nights as if to say, “Hallelujah! All is well!” I slept well that night.

Christmas morning was filled with farm chores, a quick breakfast and off to Christmas morning church. We came home to the smell of Christmas dinner cooking, and the tree filled with gifts already opened or waiting to be opened some days later. (We had to work our family Christmas around my older, married siblings’ “other” families). Later that day, we attended mom’s side of the family, the Nyhuis’s, eating, playing games, and laughing sometimes until it hurt.

Driving home that night, watching those same fields fly by as the night before, reality crept into my conscious— “It’s over.” It was incredibly sad. Even with Christmas music softly caressing my ears, sadness filled my heart. “It’s over.” After all the hype and anticipation, after all the fuss and busyness—it was over. Somehow, at that moment, as good as Christmas and all its trappings were—and they were always good—the reality that another Christmas was history pushed me over an emotional cliff. “Is this it? How can December 26 match this? There must be something better to come, that will keep this day alive.” The anticipation and reality of Christmas Day lived up to its hype, but O the letdown of December 26! There must be something better to come that would keep this day alive!

Maybe you’ve never experienced the emotional letdown related to Christmas, but you’ve felt it somewhere else. On this side of glory, nothing ever quite matches up to our hopes and dreams. That does not mean everything is bad, but just that the good things of life never last, or they don’t deliver on all the promises we’ve attached to them. We may land a dream career, but there are days on the job when we wonder if there is anything more. We have a happy, fulfilling marriage, but we realize that it doesn’t offer all that we thought it would. We prosper, but we always want just a little more.

Much of our dissatisfaction is due to sin. But even if we were not fallen, we would long for more. We were, to paraphrase Augustine, made for God, and we will experience restlessness until we see Him face-to-face. We groan inwardly, Paul tells us in Romans 8, longing for the restoration of all things. We know in our heart of hearts that we exist for something more, something better than what created things can offer.

Thanks be to God, we know that if we are in Christ, something more and better is guaranteed to us. A day is coming when our faith will be sight, when we will touch infinity, as it were, for we will be in the presence of our infinite Creator. On that day, we will no longer experience dissatisfaction or anything like the Christmas letdown. For we Christians, the best is truly yet to come.

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Let’s Not Forget the Importance of Sunday School

Written by Renae Lind, Youth Director at Bethel
 
Is Sunday School still important? This is a question I have heard over the past few years. Here at Bethel, we value the time spent teaching and nurturing our children as they grow to know Jesus. Not only are they growing in their own faith, but they are building relationships with adults who live and model that faith. Children grow in their own Christian faith, when they are taught and shown the love God has for them, reminded often that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, and that the Holy Spirit lives within them when they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
 
We as adults need to take away all the excuses for not wanting to attend Sunday School. If your child says, “I already know all of the stories being taught,” we should remind them that no matter how many times we read a book or watch a movie, there is almost always something new that we discover each time we read or hear it? If they say that “Sunday School is boring,” we could respond with, “It is only as boring or as fun as you make it.” It is amazing when we as adults respond with a positive attitude and take away excuses how much more willing our children will be to attend Sunday School with their peers and enjoy it.
 
So is Sunday School still important for students of ALL ages? Without a doubt, YES!
 
Sunday School classes resumes on September 13 from 10:30-11:15 a.m. (note new time).

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Would You Like to Be a Bethel Buddy?

We have almost two dozen people in our congregation that do not have access to email or the internet, so the Communications Team is looking for willing people to buddy up with those members to keep them informed of the goings on at Bethel. Here are some examples of what would be expected:
  • Call your buddy with prayer requests.
  • Call your buddy when services and/or activities are adjusted or cancelled.
  • Call your buddy to discuss the contents of the weekly email if there are any new updates.
  • Call your buddy just because you want to!
If you’d like to be a buddy, or if you know someone that would like to have a buddy, please contact Judi in the church office at (920) 346-5810 or secretary@bethelbrandon.org

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Virtual Worship Service Details

Thank you for your interest in our virtual services! Not only do we offer a call-in number for those that don’t have internet access, but we also go live on Facebook at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday. You do not need to be on Facebook to be able to watch a live service as at is public to the world. If you can’t call in or watch via Facebook Live, we will be posting the full service in audio and video on our Publications/Sermons page of the website. If you’d like to get us a prayer request ahead of time, please use the prayer request form located on this website. We have posted the bulletin on the website already and you can access it by clicking here. Any tithes and offerings can also be given via US Mail, the offering box now located near the secretary’s office at church or by using our online giving platform.
 
Virtual Service Access Information:
Dedicated Dial-in number (US): (508) 924-2160
Access code: No access code needed
Facebook Live: Bethel Brandon on Facebook
 
 
 
 

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