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Searching for Jesus


By Dr. Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

We have now entered the official holiday season. Our family and neighbors have begun preparing for a holiday feast at Thanksgiving. Despite the trauma that came with a split in the United Methodist Church and the frustration over our local and national elections, our church has many things to be thankful for.

Certainly, we are thankful that the elections are over. We are thankful that our country is emerging from the Covid pandemic and regaining some sense of normalcy. Most of all, where thankful that we still live in a country where we can freely worship a loving God.

The greatest challenge before us now is to actively search and seek a living Christ. I am alarmed that so many people believe that Santa Claus is the designated spokesperson for Christmas. Santa seems to be getting a great deal of press this time of year. The news, the ads, the rhetoric that persuades us remains a high pressure sales pitch to buy the latest gadget and amply give gifts to others. It seems that Jesus has taken a backseat to Santa in the frenzy of Black Friday shopping.

My message this morning is to encourage you to put your holiday activities on pause for a brief moment. In preparing for Christmas, begin reading Luke. Read one chapter each day. Pray. Seek to discover the real Jesus.

During the next several weeks, seriously reflect on the idea of gifts. Think about God’s gift to us in the birth of Jesus Christ. Think about all the things we are thankful for in our relationship with Christ and with one another. Give thanks to God.

I also challenge you to look at your relationships with others. Ask yourself, are any of these relationships an undeserved gift from God? Do we take our relationship with God for granted? How much of our celebration of Christmas involves the search for the genuine and compassionate Christ?

The celebration for Jesus’s birth is coming. We have cause for great joy. As we celebrate, we are forever reminded that God has kept his promise and given us the greatest gift of all. We are also reminded that God has given us family and friends and a church community that is grounded in the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. He is the true God-ordained leader of our church.

Please join us in our search for a genuine relationship with Jesus. Come and enjoy a great morning of music and worship at the Fontana, Kansas, United Methodist Church on November 20, 2022 at 10 a.m. You will find that we a Christ-centered church that values our neighbors and teaches the truth.

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