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The Ultimate Gift Exchange

One of the first presents under our Christmas tree this year is wrapped in a bag with the word “Believe” written across it. Every time I look at the bag, I wonder what do we REALLY believe about Christmas? Who or what are we celebrating this year?

Although we say Christmas is about Jesus and our intention is to celebrate His birth, our actions can often give us a different perspective of reality. Sometimes, somewhere between intention and action, our focus can change.

Without even realizing it, we can get caught up in the “have-to” dynamics of the season. We feel we have to get the tree up and the house decorated. We have to buy gifts for family and friends and bake goodies for colleagues and neighbors. We have to wrap presents, attend concerts and plan parties. We have to order cards, print letters and box and ship packages. We have to purchase Christmas Eve dresses for our little girls and darling sweater outfits for our little boys, in addition to the brand new pajamas for our children to wear on Christmas morning as they unwrap their brand-new toys.

All of this we say we do in celebration of Jesus and His birth.

Yet, Jesus was never about the “have-to.” In fact, He was all about the “don’t-have-to.” We don’t have to worry, fear or doubt. We don’t have to hunger or thirst. We don’t have to feel condemned, ashamed or guilty. We don’t have to walk in darkness, wander aimlessly or wonder if we will ever measure up or be good enough. We don’t have to, at all or anymore, because of Jesus.

His was the ultimate gift exchange. He came into the world, showed us a different way to live and offered His life for our sins. But it didn’t end there. He came back—to let us know the price is paid, and He’s still around.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, He gave us a second part to the gift. Without us having to clean up or dress up, He sent His Spirit into the darkness of our lives to bring light and order to His new dwelling place. And there He resides today with each of His believers—guiding us to make better choices, letting us experience His peace and filling us with His joy.

Jesus’ birth ultimately made it possible for us to become dwelling places of the Almighty God. It doesn’t get any better than that! This is what I want to celebrate!

As we prepare for Christmas this year, I invite you to join me in discovering ways we can intentionally celebrate Christ, and not become overwhelmed with the "have-tos." I pray we will all find rest in the ultimate gift exchange.

Posted by Katie Harding with
Tags: christmas

They Are Coming Back!

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In all the years of holding conferences at First Baptist Church of Woodbridge (FBCW), never have I heard the sanctuary become as silent as it did when Voices of Lee started to sing at our NorthStar Women’s Conference in March. From the moment they sang their first note, you could almost hear a pin drop. The audience was totally captivated by the sound. Being an a cappella group, music in it’s purest form was coming from this co-ed choral ensemble of college students and touching the depths of your soul in worship. It was totally amazing, and by the time they finished, the consensus was in. The 30 minute concert was MUCH too short. The audience, women as well as the handful of men present, could have listened for hours.

So it with great joy and much excitement that we have the pleasure of announcing: Voices of Lee is coming back! They will be our special guest at our Fall Gathering on Sunday, November 11, at FBCW with two full concerts, at 5:00pm and 7:00pm. There is no charge, but tickets are required. Space is limited, so reserve your ticket(s) today.

Hear what some others had to say about Voices of Lee:

“Voices of Lee is a powerful, Christian a cappella group from Lee University. They usher you into worship in a wonderful new way. The music is fresh, vibrant and filled with joy.”  ~ Donna Ogonowski, FBCW

“Voices of Lee is truly an inspiring group of young people with a God-given talent to sing. Their concert is a worship experience that draws us into worship alongside them, glorifying our God.” ~ Debbie Jaeger, Columbia Baptist

Posted by Katie Harding with 1 Comments