JOY AND THE ART OF CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS

MOSAIC MEMOIRS 2014 

MOSAIC MEMORIES 2014 Part 1 of 4

Christmas 2013 at Harvest was themed Faith, Hope and Joy. Joy would be a major theme throughout 2014. Our youth rocked a Party On theme from January to March and we started the year with a preaching series called The Art of Celebration; a title which we got from the Irish folk band Rend Collective. We would conclude the year with a Carols Old and New Christmas theme in which we borrowed a lot of the creative concepts and music style from Rend Collectives new album Campfire Christmas.

THREE KEYS TO CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS

As I reflect on 2014, in this series of mosaic memoirs, I want to suggest three keys to the art of celebrating Christmas. The first key is exactly that, that we would recap and remember the past. The second key is about prophetic vision, promise, and a focus on the future that the Promisor offers us. It’s a faith in Christ and the hope that we have in Him as our coming King as we prepare our hearts for His advent.

As we reflect on a year past, joy is our main key. Perhaps your past has had some valleys this year or perhaps your future seems dark and bleak – the joy of the Lord remains our strength. The key, though not always easy, is to continue to rejoice in Him regardless of our past, present or potential circumstances.

MOSAIC MEMORIES

We started 2014 with hosting guest speaker and musician Andre De Villiers who is famous for his VW TV Advert song Memories;

I remember the days of my life
I recall the faces- mostly yours
Magic moments – life was a mystery
There’s no place on earth that- we’d rather be

Andre shared his life story which has had many ups and downs – but he starts his story with this line “Jesus is the kindest person I have ever met!” Through it all Andre realized, as we pass through this life, that Jesus is our Redeemer, full of grace and kindness, who was shamed for the crime of the world so that we would be forgiven.

The song Memories finishes; “This is my life, And I’m passing on the Memories”. We are called to pass on the memories of the joy of knowing Christ as our redeemer and to celebrate Him in our lives.

300 AND THE ART OF VISION

We also started 2014 with a vision of 300 people coming to know Jesus as their Redeemer, Lord and Saviour and as a testimony to their faith to be baptized. We held monthly Open Days of Prayer to pray for revival and the vision of these 300 baptisms, and though I confess we lost count, we had the joy of celebrating I’m sure well over 300 baptisms throughout our Sunday Celebrations, our Easter Sunrise service at Hobie Beach, in our group life and through our various missions partners. Many came to find their destiny and future hope in Christ this year.

WHY JOY?

Joy is when our hearts are content, confident and hopeful. It is found in a source of delight stirred by a sense of our well-being, success, or blessing. Christ’s Beatitudes speak of the exceedingly blessed position we now have in Christ. Jesus concludes in Matthew 5:12 by saying although we may face persecution, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…” Paul exhorts in Philippians 4:4-5 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand…”

One of my fondest memories of 2014 was at our Young Adults Leaders Weekend Away themed 300 and The Art of Celebration. We traveled out to a seaside holiday home and one of the nights we went down to the river where the team danced and played in the glow-in-the-dark phosphorus. There is so much about the nature of God that can release joy in our hearts. Creation is one of them, dance and song another, grace, love, forgiveness, freedom of worship, victories, breakthroughs, blessings, promises and the hope that we have in Him. He is our Joy.

JOY IS A SONG

“And the singers sang aloud, with Jezrahiah their overseer. Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.”

Nehemiah 12:42-43.

These are some of the lyrics from Rend Collective’s song Joy from the Album The Art of Celebration.

We’re choosing celebration, Breaking into freedom,
You’re the song, You’re the song of our hearts.
We cast aside our shadows, Trust You with our sorrows,
You’re the song, You’re the song of our hearts
We’re dancing to the rhythm of Your heart,
We’re rising from the ashes to the stars.
 
You’re the joy, joy, joy, lighting my soul.
The joy, joy, joy, making me whole.
Though I’m broken, I am running into Your arms of love.
 
The pain will not define us, Joy will reignite us.
You’re the song, You’re the song of our hearts.
The dark is just a canvas, for Your grace and brightness,
You’re the song, You’re the song of our hearts
We’re dancing to the rhythm of Your heart,
We’re rising from the ashes to the stars

You’re the joy, The song in my heart, The hope of my soul.
In the shadows, In the sorrows, In the desert, When the pain hits.
You are constant, Ever-present, You’re the song of my heart.

SO, MARCH

Throughout March 2014 we had many events and courses; a family camp, family courses, Worklife training, a picnic, a girls nights out, a worship event and the casting of a prophetic vision to literally geographically Walk the Great Commission. What stands out, in concluding this memoir, is 4 sermon titles from the month of March 2014; I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, Party On!, Attitude Matters and Salvation Matters.

Our hearts Joy in Jesus is the Art of Celebrating Christmas.

This is the art of celebration,
Knowing we’re free from condemnation.
O praise the One, praise the One,
Who made an end to all my sin.
Rend Collective – Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration) 
from the Album The Art of Celebration.

Because Jesus Christ was born over 2000 years ago, because of what He has done for us in the past, because of the great future He has secured for us, and because He is coming back for us, that is why we celebrate Christmas.

May you know the joy of knowing Him like never before this Christmas.

 

RESOURCE LINKS

CHECK OUT Rend Collective’s The Art of Celebration Story

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