2023 Worship Guide

Page 4 2023 Worship Guide LINCOLN DAILY NEWS December 2023 By Pastor Greg Wooten, Hope Chapel Well, we did it. The weather was so warm and pleasant in the second week in November that we put up our outdoor Christmas decorations a couple of weeks early. I was really surprised when my wife told me to go ahead and turn them on. I didn’t hesitate. Our cozy little vignette has been adding a bit of light to our corner of the neighborhood since November 10th. Before anyone condemns me for blowing right past Thanksgiving, please understand that I love everything about that holiday – the food, the football, and especially the One to whom all thanks is due – I’m in! But one of the things I love about Christmas is the lights that make everything seem a little brighter. As dark as the world can be, light is a real blessing. Who hasn’t wept over the darkness of Russia invading Ukraine? Or Hamas attacking Israel and the bloodshed that has ensued since? Has your heart broken over the darkness surrounding acts of gun violence and incessant political finger-pointing every time a news report breaks? Did the darkness threaten to overtake you the last time you shielded your eyes as you walked past a homeless person Light and wondered how? Why? What can one person do? Do you feel in the dark every time you hear about a child dying of a disease that should never afflict anyone, especially one so young? Just driving around our community a few days ago, I was overwhelmed with an almost palpable sense of darkness. To see a cherished place that once brought the light of dignity to combat the darkness associated with illness and aging closed and lifeless brought me pain. Knowing an institution that has faithfully trained young women and men to shine God’s light, will soon be shuttered and vacant brought tears. And, as one of those evangelical types, darkness floods in every time I see a new business coming to town that profits from alcohol, gambling, or cannabis. Darkness is remarkably pervasive. It’s so overwhelming at times that it gets tempting to blow out the candle and head for home. But this time of year, reminders are everywhere that the Light of the world came to us! The depth of our darkness didn’t discourage Him or deter Him. He was determined to bring the light of life and salvation to anyone who would follow Him. Christmas lights remind me that because Jesus came, it’s only a matter of time until He comes again to banish darkness forever. Until then, true believers, don’t let your light go out. Lincoln needs you to shine more than ever! “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5, New International Version) Continued --