Local churches plan Christmas Eve services

BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCHChristmas is just around the corner and seems everywhere you go people are saying Merry Christmas, choirs are singing cantatas, churches are having candlelight services and preachers are telling of the star that shone brightly over the manger, pointing the way to Jesus. But have you ever given thought to the fact that there is a dark side to the Christmas story? Christmas goes from the Star over the manger to the Scars on the Savior. As the shepherds and wise men worshipped the Babe they had no idea that one day those little hands and feet would bare nail prints and that tiny side would be pierced. Yes, they could not see that Jesus was born to die. Those scars are not incidental, Christ knew when He came that He would bear them for us, take our place on Calvary and be the Hope for man.Even the angels on that lowly night had no idea that Jesus would go from the Cradle to the Cross. They had no thought of a lonely day that would come some 33 years later as the babe in the manger, the darling Son of God would be hanging on a lonely cross. Although for some this may seem like the “dark side” of Christmas, but it is the real reason for the season. Jesus came to make a way for our salvation and give us the hope of heaven.So this year, see not just the star in heaven, but recognize the scars on the Savior. See in His hands and feet the nail prints for you and me, and take a moment to say, “Thank You.”This Sunday, the 22nd, Our adult choir is performing the Cantata: “There Is a Bethlehem” during the morning service. We will also have a Christmas Eve service on Tuesday the 24th at 7 p.m. You are welcomed to join us for both of these services as we celebrate our Lord’s birth.If you don’t have a church home, we would love to have you worship with us at Broadway Baptist Church where God is changing homes one heart at a time.  Our Life Groups, which is for all ages, starts at 10 a.m. Our morning service is at 10:50 a.m. and our evening service begins at 6 p.m. Come and let us be a blessing to you as we worship the Lord together.EMMANUEL FELLOWSHIP CHURCHWe invite you to join us this Sunday at Emmanuel Fellowship Church. Our Sunday morning services are combined for the month of December, so we will meet together this week at 11 a.m. We will enjoy warm fellowship, dynamic worship, a life-giving message, as well as top-notch children’s ministry and nursery care for children up to fifth grade. This week, we will conclude our December sermon series entitled “Christmas Unwrapped.” Come prepare your heart for the celebration of Jesus’ birth as we remember what’s important about this holiday season. Lifegroups at EFC are available throughout the week for small group Bible study, worship and prayer. For more information about the many Lifegroup options that are available, please log on to our church website at www.efcsweetwater.com.EFC’s Wednesday evening children’s ministry is in full-swing, with children ages six months through fifth grade exploring what living life with Jesus really looks like! They meet Wednesdays from 6:45-8:30 p.m. and are loving their time together in the “Faith Factory.” The Salvage Yard youth ministry, for grades 6-12, meets Wednesdays at 6:45 p.m. for their worship service and again on Sundays at 6 p.m. for small group discipleship. The Salvage Yard is also hosting a New Year’s Eve Bash for students, complete with a guest DJ. Check out their facebook page (The Yard) for more information, or call the church offices at 236-9200.We also invite you to step into The Growth Central Bookstore when you visit EFC. It’s stocked with Bibles, study aids, marriage and parenting resources, worship music, inspirational gifts, original art and fiction books — there’s something for everyone. The bookstore is open between Sunday morning services, from 10:30-11 a.m. and 12:30-1 p.m. For more information about the ministry of EFC, log onto the church website at www.efcsweetwater.com.FIRST BAPTIST CHURCHFirst Baptist Church invites you and your family to join us on this Sunday, Dec. 22, for Bible study, beginning at 9:15 a.m. for all ages, followed by the Sunday morning service, which begins at 10:30 a.m. First Baptist Church is located at 213 East Third Street, next door to the Post Office. We warmly greet you. Your presence will enhance our worship experience and our fellowship together.Koinonia coffee is held at The Welcome Center before Bible study each Sunday morning. Coffee is the perfect complement to meeting old friends and new. It is an invitation to sit and talk for a while, to share stories, to get to know one another better. You are invited to join friends each Sunday morning as we all share a warm cup of Koinonia Coffee.The Missions item to be collected for the month of December is macaroni and cheese. Each month we have collected different items which are being used to restock our pantry which is to be used as a resource for needy families.Many events are planned during the month of December. If you have a class party planned, please notify the church office so that it can be placed on the church calendar and bulletin.Advent devotional guides are available in the Sanctuary foyer. Please take one as part of your Advent devotionals.You can purchase a Christmas Poinsettia “In Honor Of” or “In Memory Of” to help decorate the church for Advent services. McVey Nursery has donated the Poinsettias and all proceeds will go to the youth fund. Each Poinsettia is $10 and can be picked up after the Christmas Eve service. To purchase, please call the church office.There will be a Christmas Eve service. Please join us as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! We want everyone to enjoy this wonderful time of the year as we reminisce and fellowship together. We will celebrate the birth of Jesus, the greatest gift ever to walk this planet. We will celebrate in unity with hope, love, joy and peace for in our Lord is unfailing love and full redemption!For in depth information on First Baptist Church Sweetwater, find us on Facebook or at www.fbcsweetwater.org.FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHFirst Presbyterian Church of Sweetwater welcomes all to join us for worship. Our church is a warm and loving church, and we want you to feel comfortable and at liberty to call on us for anything you need pastorally. We would love to have you be our guest. Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Advent. The Brandon Bennett Family will be lighting the Advent Candles. Rev. Cathy Ludlum Reed will be bringing the message. Stephanie Wiele will be worship assistant. Karen Brown and Dorothy Stroman will be greetersCommunion Christmas Eve service will be Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. The Christmas Joy Offering will be collected at the Christmas Eve service. This offering provides financial assistance to current and former church workers and their families and provides opportunities for deserving students to attend Presbyterian-related racial ethnic colleges and schools.The mission of First Presbyterian Church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ by being an oasis of God’s love. Worship services are each Sunday at 10:45 a.m. We are located at the corner of 14th Street and McCaulley, across from the high school. Find out more information about our ministry by calling 235-5491 or visit the church’s website www.fpcsweetwater.org.HIGHLAND HEIGHTS UNITED METHODIST CHURCHHighland Heights wishes all a “very Merry Christmas.” Blessings to you and yours in celebrating and sharing the “The Good News” of the birth of Jesus Christ.Our Church’s Mission Statement: “To glorify Christ in all that we do by bringing people to Christ and equipping them to serve Christ.”Sunday school begins at 9:30 a.m. and worship service at 10:45 a.m., with Pastor Claude bringing the message. Worship assistants are Lisa Peterson serving as worship leader, Brenda Alexander leads the congregational hymns and plays the keyboard, pianist is Eugenia Hill and the greeter for December is Don Hatter. The reading and lighting of the advent wreath begins the morning service. Pat McKiddy will sing a special musical selection during worship.You are invited to return Sunday evening to the fellowship hall for a Christmas celebration from 4-6 p.m. as we share Christian fellowship with refreshments and a devotional.December is filled with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas celebrations, including parties, shopping for gifts and traveling to different locations in order to share Christmas with grandparents and other family members. “Bless This House” calls for prayer that Jesus Christ is the center of all activities in giving thanks and praise to God for the birth of his precious Son. Pray our lives joyfully exemplifies that love during the Christmas season not only to family and friends, but especially to ones who may be alone.You are always invited to join us at 1801 Lamar Street, sharing in our vision of making Disciples of Jesus Christ, growing spiritually, fulfilling our God-given gifts, witnessing to others and ministering to ones in need.LAMAR STREET BAPTIST CHURCHOur church family would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and invite you to join us as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for Sunday school, followed by our 10:40 a.m. service; the choir will be performing “Beautiful Star”. Bro. Clay will bring a message from the Bible. There will be no children church. Our evening service starts at 6 p.m., we will have a candlelight service with the Lord’s Supper.A reminder to all members to check the mailbox in the foyer; you may have cards.There will not be any activities or service on Wednesday evening, Dec. 25.It is the month of giving, so remember to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, to support international missionaries.To learn more about Lamar Street Baptist Church, visit us at 513 Lamar, check out our website at www.lamarstreetbaptist.com, or call the church at 235-1779 and leave a message and someone will return your call.THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTSA Christmas talk given by Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsThe Christmas season, with its special meaning and beauty, often prompts a tear, inspires a renewed commitment to God, and provides rest to the weary and peace to the soul.However, it is easy to get caught up in the pressure of the season and perhaps lose the very spirit in our lives that we’re trying to gain. Overdoing it is especially common this time of the year for many of us. The causes for this might include too many Christmas activities to attend, too much to eat, too much money spent, too many expectations and too much tension. Often our efforts at Christmastime result in our feeling stressed out, wrung out and worn out during a time we should feel the simple joys of commemorating the birth of our Savior.Finding the real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done, nor is it found in the purchasing of gifts. We find real joy when we make the Savior the focus of the season. We can keep Him in our thoughts and in our lives as we go about the work He would have us perform here on earth. At this time, particularly, let us follow His example as we love and serve our fellowman.President David O. McKay said: “True happiness comes only by making others happy. … The [spirit of] Christmas … makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service. It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart—and our neighbors as ourselves. It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much; he who gives time gives more; but he who gives of himself gives all.Let us make Christmas real. It isn’t just tinsel and ribbon, unless we have made it so in our lives. Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others.There’s Christmas in the home and church,There’s Christmas in the mart;But you’ll not know what Christmas isUnless it’s in your heart.The bells may call across the snow,And carols search the air,But oh, the heart will miss the thrillUnless it’s Christmas there.As the Christmas season envelops us with all its glory, may we, as did the Wise Men, seek a bright, particular star to guide us to our Christmas opportunity in service to our fellowman. May we all make the journey to Bethlehem in spirit, taking with us a tender, caring heart as our gift to the Savior. And may one and all have a joy-filled Christmas. In the sacred and blessed name of Jesus Christ, amen.Calendar:Sunday, Dec. 22 — Church services 9 a.m. to noon; Visitors welcome.We are located at 910 Elm Street in Sweetwater. If you would like to talk with representatives of the church about the Savior’s teachings, call 1-800-622-5595. Missionaries serving in this area are Elder Olsen and Elder Rentmeister. Call (325) 864-2999.