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by Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Senior Pastor

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). John 1. 41

A Word of Hope
As I contemplate the coming of Christmas Day, I cannot help but think about the countless people who are lonely and alone. I suppose there is no other time that is more painful that Christmas for people to be alone. While other days of the year a person might be fine with being alone, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, by their very nature are about family: biological family, as Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph and family of choice, as were those Jesus called to follow his path in loving God and loving others.
That is why I think it is so profoundly important that we invite people to worship with us on Christmas Eve. Those of us, who know the joy of being in the midst of a church family on the holiest night of the year, certainly shouldn’t keep that joy to ourselves. Study after study tells us that the one reason people come to church is because they are invited by another person.

Those who worship together on Christmas Eve will hear a story of a child born into the world who will give all people hope. We will sing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God that will lift our spirits and cause our souls to open to receive the very Spirit of God. We will laugh together, sing together, pray together and be reminded that each of us is a child of God. So I want to invite you to do something that can make your Christmas Eve the most meaningful night of the year. Invite someone to church.

Andrew was not the most well-known disciple, and yet it was Andrew who invited Simon to come and meet Jesus, and it would be Simon whom Jesus would give the name, Peter, the Rock, upon which the church would be built. So, I invite you to ask God to show you the one person in your life that needs an invitation to church on Christmas Eve, and then invite them. Who knows, you may be inviting someone to come and meet the Christ Child and it may change their lives, and they, in turn, may change the world.

Emmanuel, descend to me, I pray. Open my heart and my eyes to see the one who needs my invitation the most. Give me courage to offer an invitation of hope and promise, and may God be glorified. Amen.

Christmas at Cathedral of Hope / CoH Houston / CoH OKC

But if you remain silent, who can condemn you? If you hide your face, who can see you? Job 34.29

A Word of Hope
Have you finished your costume yet? Halloween is just two days away and the parties have already begun. Do you ever wonder why so many of us go to extremes every year to dress ourselves or our children as super heroes, grotesque movie monsters or even scarier politicians? The “Hallow” in “Halloween” means “holy”, so how does all this fuss relate to a Holy Evening? The first Hallow-e’en costume parties originated in the Middle Ages, but they were far from parties as we know the term.

European villagers were obsessed with possession in those dismal times of plagues and poverty. Since demonic influence and possession seemed to them to be the most logical and probable cause for all their woes, the idea came about that dressing up in frightening-looking outfits and making lots of noise was the best course to frighten the demons away. The practice was encouraged by the church leaders who also told them that All Hallow’s Eve, the evening before the venerated Feast of All Saints, was the night the spirits of evil were at their most active level, doing whatever was necessary to snatch people’s very souls and thoroughly defile the upcoming worship events. So, everyone put on their masks and rattled their chains to literally scare the devil out of each other and send the demons back to the pits where they belonged.

This is not likely the reason you or some of your friends might be wearing a costume today, but it is not surprising that at this time of year much of the LGBTQ community eagerly embraces the opportunity to play dress up on the streets. Few believe in possession, but most have been touched by oppression. Many are still forced to wear a mask in their work or worship places year round. On this night, wearing a mask is their own choice, not somebody else’s. They are freed from playground mentality rules such as “don’t ask, don’t tell” to noisily proclaim their real identities and maybe drive out a few of their own demons of guilt and shame. And if that is the case, maybe it’s a holy evening after all.

Help us to know that we are all hallow in your sight.

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Childcare is provided at all Sunday and Wednesday services.

9 & 11 a.m. – Sunday Worship
9 & 11 a.m. – Children’s Church
11 a.m. – Youth Groups
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7:15 p.m. – PULSE Service

5910 Cedar Springs Road | Dallas, TX  75235 (map)
Local: 214-351-1901 | Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)

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