This weekend is the first of two opportunities to bring family and friends to our outdoor Christmas experience. It is fantastic to host another year in our big Christmas tent and remind our neighbours and community that Christmas has an origin in Jesus Christ’s birth. This is the meta narrative of God! We sing this story every week, celebrate it in Holy Communion, fuel it in our daily Bible reading. Yet, there are many in our culture who do not know the story of “The Nativity”. This year our goal is to remind every guest that God loved us so much He sent His Son to initiate a plan of reconciliation. In addition, we want to invite our guests to both Christmas Eve and Alpha. In today’s spiritual ethos, due to lack of knowledge and familiarity, it often takes weeks to help people come to understand the plan God has for them through Christ (as opposed to a decision made in the 1970’s through a Billy Graham crusade). That’s why our January launch of Alpha is so important. Ten weeks where our guests can journey, ask questions, and begin to have a revelation of God’s grace. Continue to pray for this outreach.
I want to thank all those who have worked so hard at bringing our tent “to life”. There are too many to name, but I must list a few like my wife who spent 12-hour days in the tent this past week. She gathered around her new and familiar volunteers each day to build a forest, a wall of wreaths, a Santa room and most importantly the nativity. Special thanks for coordinating the décor for advent and the outreach. This was quarterbacked by Pastor Debbie, Heather Subrata, Brenda Cheah (plus family members and many volunteers). Mandy Martens has taken charge of all things outside the tent, building warming fires for the cold nights. There would be no tent if it wasn’t for Jonathan Keller whose team raised the tent, designed the set, and built the set. I am deeply indebted to him and his team. Each year I reach out to a friend, Reg Parks, from Theatre in the Country, to help write the script. Our tech and sound guys (Nathan Williams & Josh Galicia) along with Ray Beutel who quarterbacks the CLA kitchen & Café have been amazing each night. Neil Muth, our church manager, has been up in the middle of the night to come down to the tent for security breaches and weather concerns. Howard Ratzlaff moved his truck and trailer to our site for evening security. Then there are the nightly hosts, singers, Life Groups and volunteers. Behind the scenes a prayer team has daily lifted this outreach up to the LORD of the harvest and many have funded the “Help Us Tell the Story” to pay for the experience so that there is no charge to guests. Down the street kids must pay $15 to attend a community event and we can’t do that. Thank you to all those who help fund this outreach (it costs about $65,000 a year). This is a small price to pay to keep the story alive in the Fraser Valley. Last but not least, I appreciate the hard work our Communications Department did in getting the message out on radio, newspaper, invitations, and social media. You can join them by making your own post of the event on your feeds and invite your contacts to consider coming. Think about joining us tonight.