The CHRISTmas Story


“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means ‘God with us.’’

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

Luke 2:1-14

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world . . . .  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord! This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’”

John 1:4

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

During this holiest of seasons, may you remember the true CHRISTmas story.

Christmas Eve Worship

Christmas Eve Worship Schedule

Northside United Methodist Church

2799 Northside Drive NW

Atlanta, Georgia 30305

11:00 a.m.       A Family Service of Candlelight & Carols                Sanctuary

2:00 p.m.         A Family Service of Candlelight & Carols                Sanctuary

4:00 p.m.         Contemporary Christmas Worship                           Faith & Arts Center

6:00 p.m.         A Service of Carols, Candles, & Communion           Sanctuary

8:00 p.m.         A Service of Carols, Candles, & Communion           Sanctuary

Nativity Animals will be present from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in The Wallace Garden. Children young and old are invited to visit.

Childcare for ages 6 weeks to 2 years will be available at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Childcare for ages 6 weeks to pre-K will be available at 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00 p.m.

O, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!



“Travelers Service” for those unable to attend on Christmas Eve

Monday, December 23 at 6:00 p.m. in the Faith & Arts Center

Contemporary Worship identical to Christmas Eve

The Red Kettle

A church I served always adopted a Salvation Army site during the holiday season. Volunteers stood outside a nearby grocery store, collecting money for the Red Kettle.

red kettleThe experience of ringing the Salvation Army bell grants deep insights into human nature. Most adults avoid eye contact altogether, pretending they cannot see or hear you. However, the cling-clang of the bell fascinates children as they gaze at the berry-red kettle.

I witnessed a bejeweled woman in a high-end sports car stalk past without a glance. A biker in dirty jeans and leather jacket stuffed $20 into the slot. Others gave nothing as they shrugged with varying degrees of indifference or embarrassment.

If you encounter someone ringing the Salvation Army this year, here’s my advice.

  • Make eye contact
  • Smile
  • Thank the volunteers for their service
  • Wish them a “Merry Christmas”
  • Make sure children have coins to drop in the kettle
  • Make sure you donate some cash that folds
  • Do unto others as . . . well, you know.

A Christmas Carol

Christmas carolOur Advent Worship Series at Northside Church is entitled Classic Christmas Movies. Last Sunday’s feature film was A Christmas Carol, starring Patrick Stewart.

In Charles Dickens’ novella, the fearsome ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future visited Ebenezer Scrooge. He awoke on Christmas morning a transformed man.

Dickens reminds believers that we celebrate Christmas in three tenses. PAST: We remember how the Son of God became incarnate as a tiny babe. PRESENT: We recognize Christ’s Spirit present in our daily lives. FUTURE: We anticipate the day our Lord will return again in glory.

It’s telling that Charles Dickens entitled his story A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge discovered the true meaning of Christmas that terrible, wonderful night. Faced with the reality of his life, he also discovered God’s power to change.

Christmas reminds us that it’s never too late to become the people that we always hoped to be.

“God bless us, every one.”