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      Tomorrow will mark 19 years since my father passed on from this Earth into Eternity and it’s always a day of remembrance & grieving the loss of my mentor, friend & father. Every Dec 8th I wonder how would things have been different in the life of my family, and what he would have thought of our choices, circumstances and accomplishments if he were still with us. Would he have been proud or annoyed, involved or apathetic, supportive or critical through these formative years of his grandchildren and their parents? Only Julia & Lily were alive when he died (I know he waited until they entered his hospital room before he let go) ...and it’s hard when I think that he never met or saw the birth of Bella or Elijah (who looks a lot like my Dad).

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    Of course, I also struggle how my kids never knew him, his sense of humor and his fatherly love that my brother & I got to experience. The only way they get to know him is through our telling of stories, teachings and experiences. I’ve tried to honor the blessing of a great upbringing by he and my Mom by passing on the best to our children. In doing so, I also found that I have a Father that will never leave me. This revelation came to me in dealing with loss of my Dad. See, in my search of the meaning & results of his death, I discovered the one true God, through His son Jesus Christ, as He taught the sermon on the mount in the Book of Matthew chapter 5.   That was a great unexpected gift!

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     One of my favorite Christmas memories was going out with my Dad and collecting greens and holly then making a wreath to put on our humble home.  it took up a quarter of the front side of the house as we had a really small house but always the biggest wreath in the neighborhood!  He poured much thought into how that wreath would look and I believe it was his way of honoring our Father in heaven and the gift of His Son Jesus Christ for all of mankind.  It brought joy and cheer to all who saw that giant reminder of the crown of thorns our Lord wore when he freed us from captivity and declared that God's promise was completed with Jesus' last human spoken words "it is finished"!

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     As we learned last week, God made a promise through the prophets which He made good on the day we remember as the first Christmas - 12/25/0000 (not that we know the exact date..but it's powerful to write out and think about!).  Jesus was not just the fulfillment of an ancient promise to the Jews, but his birth was the introduction of a greater promise to the world. A new way of life, a freedom from the bondage of sin with the security of eternal life for all people and nations.  My hope is in the promise of being united with my Dad again sharing stories, teachings, experiences and of course introducing my children to him in the presence of our Heavenly Father, our Messiah Jesus and in the fullness of the Holy Spirit for all eternity, AMEN!

Peace & Joy,

PJ (Pastor Jon)

PS. Join us in spreading Joy & Cheer together in any or all these events:

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This Saturday: We have 10 poinsettias that need to be delivered to 10 elderly seniors in the Plaistow area. We’ll be meeting 8 AM on Saturday Dec 9 at the Rock in Plaistow having some breakfast and hot cocoa before taking the van and heading out to bring Christmas carols and cheer for all to hear. Please let me know if you can make it so we know how much pastries and bagels to pick up. Thank you and God bless us  everyone!

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Blue Christmas ~ A celebration and remembrance of love & life
Dec 19th Rock Church Amesbury - Holiday Feast 5:30 PM  Gathering 6:30 PM
As Elvis sang: "I'll have a Blue Christmas without you I'll be so blue just thinking about you
Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree Won't be the same dear, if you're not here with me" 
Many of us identify with the loss of relationships, loved ones or circumstances and how they affect us in the holiday season especially if it's the first time experiencing it without a friend, family member or dearly beloved.  Join us at a special CR evening focused on remembering, celebrating and healing in a time of year that has been and will again be filled with Peace, Hope, Love & Joy.  

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Christmas Eve Sunday Morning Breakfast, Lifegroup & Worship:
All Sunday morning activities will meet at the normal times on Dec 24, 2017.  Breakfast & Lifegroup 9 AM Worship 10:10 AM
Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Rock Church Amesbury/Newburyport  
Join us @ Rock Church Amesbury 146 Main Street Amesbury 4 PM  Visit ChristmasInAmesbury.org for more info.
 

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