The much loved Christmas Carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” includes the words central to our Advent and Christmas theme this year, “abide with us”: “We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our God, Emmanuel.”
While “abide with us” is a bit of an old fashioned phrase, the notion of abiding is as beautiful as it is comforting. It is a well-used word in Holy Scripture and can be found upwards of 96 times in the Bible. To abide is to “dwell,” “remain,” “be present,” and to “be held and kept,” and many of the uses refer to us abiding with Christ, however, the Christmas Carol urges the opposite, and voices our plea to Christ, Emmanuel or “God-with-us,” to abide with us. And isn’t that so much of what the season of Advent is about, inviting the Christ Child to come, once again, to our hearts, our communities, our world so very much in need of the presence and peace God has promised us?
As always, this year’s Christmas Offering, which will be received in our congregations on Sunday, December 17 and Sunday, December 24, comes back to the Regional Church in which it was given to help us fulfill the ministry of Christ we are called to do, including abiding with God and inviting God to abide with us. You can also give directly online at: https://disciplesmissionfund.org/give/ (please be sure to name your congregation so that your offering will support the Christian Church in Ohio).
Linked above is the Ohio Bulletin Insert as well as a brief 4 slide PowerPoint presentation that you can share.
We have created a brief video that helps explore exactly how the Christian Church in Ohio seeks to invite Jesus, God-In-Christ, to dwell with us in real and tangible ways. We invite you to share this video in your service of worship or repost it to your congregation’s social media page.
Our gifts support the work of regional ministries this Christmas. Your regional ministry works to:
Connect congregations to each other
Foster faith development
Gather Disciples in camps, conferences, and assemblies
Nurture the development of a new generation of pastors
Assist churches in calling new ministers
Interpret the global mission of the Church
Represent the Church in ecumenical gatherings
Counsel and pray with those who are troubled of spirit
Lead the Church to address racism
Inspire leaders to experiment and create
Witness to the power of God to make things new
The Christmas Special Day offering supports all of these and many other ministries of our regions.