I’m kind of excited about having our Christmas Eve outdoors this year.  It’s about as stripped down as we’ve ever done Christmas. We’ll have some staging, lights and a good sound system, great music, hot chocolate, and short and I pray powerful message about forgiveness, but there will be a simplicity to it that intrigues me and draws me in. 

I think in some ways it may better reflect the original Christmas than anything we’ve ever done.  Being outdoors will be somewhat less comfortable than being in a climate controlled building with comfortable chairs.  But then there was nothing climate controlled about the first Christmas.  I love the possibility that people will literally wander in from the streets, not to hear a speaker or listen to a band, but I hope, because something about Jesus compels them.

My wife Toni and I were talking about our service and she said it reminded her of the story of the banquet that Jesus told.  Where many were invited, but in the end, God threw open the doors to the poor, the blind, the crippled and the lame — all those who never felt welcomed before.  Amen.  Bring it on.

I guess I’m asking you to pray with me that God would welcome the unwelcomed this Christmas.  That those of us who know Jesus could host strangers in an open field (park) and let the world know that Jesus really did die for us.  That we climb over snowbanks for a few minutes to share a very real message about an unreal love that came to us.  Sometimes those gatherings are the ones we’ll remember for years, because something happened when we gathered together and God was there.

Two full page ads are running in area newspapers today inviting people to Heritage Park in Barrie Monday evening for our service (6:30 p.m.).  I pray people who really would love to meet Jesus would join Connexus people from all campuses for an incredible celebration of our God in a setting that’s not that far off from the original one.  I think it could be an incredible gathering.

It would be awesome, wouldn’t it, if the world knew what actually happened and what it actually means?  Pray with me, with us, with billions of Christians this weekend, as we all get ready for that.

4 Comments

  1. Carey Nieuwhof on December 22, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Thanks for the comments so far! The forecast is perfect. When we planned this, we thought around minus 5 with a light snow fall would be ideal. That's exactly what the forecast has said for the last three days.

    Before we claim any credit for effective praying, we did have Sunday blizzards two out of the three last weekends.

    I sent some e-vites to friends who don't got to church off the home page of Connexus in the last few days. Hope you will do the same.

    I also did some writing for the service last night and can't wait to talk about the incredible power of forgiveness through Jesus. Pretty moving stuff – forgiveness — when you think about it.

  2. Stephanie on December 21, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Saw the ads today…they look GREAT! I pray that they intrigue people to join us for what promises to be an awesome Christmas Eve. I am praying for great weather too 😉

  3. Glen Ruby on December 21, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    If you bring a hat on Christmas Eve you better be ready to hold on to it because I have just been given word that the Spirit of Love will move more boldly than you can even begin to imagine or see in downtown Barrie on this wonderful expression of celebration. Watch and see as people feel and express the true power of the love in the open atmosphere of Heritage Park. I know God will speak so clearly that rivers of tears are going to flood the park with diamonds of salvation spread all around for the flock of Christ to pick up and receive into our family.The kingdom of God always prevails.

    Hail our King!

  4. Pats Mom and Dad on December 21, 2007 at 11:48 am

    It sounds like a great time. Wish we could join you. Our whole family enjoyed the opening in Barrie and wish you all a Merry Christmas. Pats Mom and Dad

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