A prominent educator and patron of the arts, Henry Cole–best remembered today as the founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London–had too many friends–or so it seemed in the 1843 holiday season, thanks to advances in postal and railroad services. The Christmas and New Year’s letter, an old custom in England, “had received new impetus with the recent expansion of the British postal system and the introduction of the ‘Penny Post,’ allowing the sender to send a letter anywhere in the country by affixing a penny stamp on the correspondence,” Smithsonian Magazine’s John Hanc explains. As Cole watched stacks of Christmas letters pile up, fretting about answering them all, a solution occurred. He approached an artist friend, J.C. Horsley, and asked him to design an idea that Cole had sketched out in his mind. Cole then took Horsley’s illustration, showing a family at table celebrating the holiday, flanked by images of people helping the poor. He added a generic greeting and printed a thousand copies on stiff cardboard 5 1/8 x 3 1//4 inches in size. It was the first Christmas card, and it sure saved time for busy people. (smithsonian.com, December 9, 2015)
Even so, as you eagerly tear open your Christmas envelopes in our high-tech 21st century, what’s the first thing you seek? We’re guessing it’s the personal note penned in familiar handwriting, or the newsy letter festooned with photos inviting you to peer into friends’ faces and vicariously experience their year in review. When you read a letter from a friend, whether sitting in front of your computer or curled up near a crackling fireplace, you picture the writer, recall together times, remember the feel of their presence, their laughter, their tears, their loves, their dreams. Those same emotions emerge as you compose your own letter. A lot of intimacy awakens. Creativity flows through your arm and hand and fingers, traveling from your heart to another’s.
So what’s the best ever Christmas letter? It’s your Bible! From Genesis to Revelation, God was thinking of all humanity when He dictated His plan to ancient scribes, and He is thinking of you as you read His inspired Word! Jesus and your salvation are central to Scripture’s every book and chapter. When Jesus created the world, you personally were part of His plan and heir to His promises. During this Advent season, let’s celebrate two miracles: Jesus’ first Advent and His second Advent–our hope!
The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the gracious promise
I made to the house of Israel
and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch
sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord our Righteousness.’
Pastor James Winegardner will continue his sermon series on Mark for our 9:00 and 11:30 Sanctuary worship services. Keene Adventist Elementary School children will present all of our worship music, featuring handbell choirs, first and second graders, third and fourth graders, and Isabelle Roldan of fifth grade and eighth grader Danna Salazar. Mickey Johnson will offer congregational prayer, and Pastor Rick Weaver will call for the offering, which will support Keene Church Ministries and Operations. Dennis Habenicht will serve as Deacon in Charge.
Young Adults, Pastor Travis Patterson will speak for The Middle Service in the Fellowship Hall at 10:00. Music will be provided by Dallas Baptist Theological Seminary. Come and enjoy friendship, spiritual uplift, great music, and food!
General church fellowship potluck is this Sabbath after second service in the Fellowship Hall! Bring plenty of delicious food and fellowship to share!
A memorial service for Sleepy Read will be held in our Sanctuary at 2:00 this afternoon. Ron Halvorsen, Jr., will officiate.
For all who are involved in supporting or are interested in supporting Bereavement Meals at our church, mark your calendars! We will have a 2019 planning meeting today at 3:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall.
Come early for a good seat at Keene Adventist Elementary School’s Christmas Cantata, “Building Christmas,” presented this evening at five o’clock in our Sanctuary! We’ve heard them rehearsing here at the church this week, and we know you’re going to love their performance, as always!
Masterpiece will not meet in December or January. See you on Feb. 2!
- As mentioned above, a memorial service for Sleepy Read, father of Martin and Stylle Read and brother of Billy Mack Read, Betty Ann Price, and John Read, will be held this Sabbath afternoon at 2:00 in our Sanctuary.
- Sara Ponce, mother of Linda Ponce Goodridge, passed away on Sunday, November 25. Her memorial service will be held on December 1 at 3:30 PM at the Keene Spanish Church.
- A memorial service for Walter Herrell, husband of Carol Herrell and father of Debbie Azarowicz and Jon Herrell, will be held in our Chapel on December 8 at 3:00 PM.
December 15 church bulletin announcement schedule – As far as possible we need to complete the bulletin for December 15 (two weeks from now) by Monday afternoon, December 10. Would you kindly check your calendar and send your announcements for December 15 during this coming week or on Monday, December 10? Thank you very much!
Cookies and Carols! Come to the Fellowship Hall on Sunday, December 2, at 3:00-5:00 PM for Cookies and Carols! Wear an ugly Christmas sweater, bring your best homemade cookies, and enjoy a hot drink from your social committee.
Wednesday night Bible study – Be with us in our Chapel at 7:00 on Wednesdays as James Winegardner looks deep into Revelation’s treasures!
Family Ministries is sponsoring an evening of caroling! Join us December 8 at 5:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall for a couple hours of spreading Christmas cheer in Keene and surrounding areas. Dress warmly and return for hot cocoa and popcorn. All ages are welcome!
Angel Tree – Please grant a wish for a child in foster care. Pick a name on the Angel tree or at the information desk. Follow the directions on the paper and return to the church office or the CK Family Services office by December 10. Info: Reneé Tyler at 817-658-3198.
Keene Worship Choir Christmas concerts will be presented in the Sanctuary on Friday, Dec. 14, 7:00 PM and on Sabbath, Dec. 15, 5:30 PM.
Warmth for our homeless friends! We are collecting new or fairly new winter jackets, gloves, hats, socks, and sleeping bags for our homeless ministry December drive. Please drop off your gifts at the church office!
We’d like to provide group meals with Meals on Wheels once a week at the Annex. They have vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. We need at least 20 individuals to start. Applications are at the church office.
Southwestern Adventist University
- Enactus 5k Color Run –The Enactus Team invites you to join us in running for a purpose on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 9:00 AM! Search Enactus 5k Color Run on eventbrite.com to buy your tickets!
- Burgers with a Mission: Homemade veggie burgers will be sold in front of the Adventist Book Center this Sunday, December 2 from noon to 8:00 PM during the Keene Christmas Light Parade. Please come support SWAU students’ spring break mission trips!
- SWAU Christmas Concert – Friday, Dec. 7, 7:30 PM, Sanctuary
- The University Singers “Brightest & Best” Christmas concert will feature the music of Kim Andre Amesen, Morten Lauridsen, Shawn Kirchner, Howard Helvey and Craig Courtney. You’ll love this free musical performance on Saturday night, December 8, at 6:00 at St. Vincent’s Cathedral, 1300 Forest Ridge Drive, Bedford, Texas.
- The SWAU Campus Food pantry (providing food for needy students) needs food donations such as pasta, rice, dried beans, and canned goods like soup, vegetables, and fruit, dropped off at the Records office. Contact Judy Miles, email@example.com
Keene Adventist Elementary School
- KAES Christmas Cantata “Building Christmas” – Sabbath, Dec. 1, 5:00 PM. Keene Church Sanctuary
- Christmas Piano Recitals – Sunday, Dec. 9, 1:00 and 3:00 PM, MaBee Center.
- Bands and Marimbas Christmas Concert – Sunday, Dec. 16, 3:00 PM, KAES Gym.
Chisholm Trail Academy
- CTA Sophomore Family Trivia Night and Silent Auction Fund-raiser – December 8, 7:00 to 10:00 PM, Academy Gym! $25/Trivia Team. No entrance fee. Food, fun, games, and prizes!
- CTA Christmas Concert – Wednesday, December 12, 7:00 PM, in the Sanctuary.
The 23rd annual Keene Christmas Light Parade and Fireworks Show will be 6:30 PM Sunday, Dec. 2. Parade staging is at Pinnacle Bank for vehicles and Chisholm Trail Academy for animals. The parade route will be south to north along Old Betsy Road, ending at the Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium parking lot on the SWAU campus. Anything with wheels or feet, adorned with Christmas lights and consistent with the theme, “The Reason We Celebrate This Season,” needs only show up by 6:00 PM. Parade entry fee is two packages of dog food (preferably Purina) for the Keene Animal Shelter. Dog food should be turned in at the registration tent. Parade entrants who want to be eligible for prizes should be at the parking lot by 5:00 PM. Judging begins at 5:15 PM. A fireworks show will begin about 10 minutes after parade ends.
This year’s Christmas tree offering will support our air conditioning project. Look for the red gift envelope in your pew or at the welcome desk! Thank you for your generous commitment to maintaining God’s house.
Karen Wallace Atwell attends one of the smaller churches close to Keene and thought she would ask our larger church if anybody knows of someone who owns a knee scooter but no longer needs it. She would like to borrow it while her foot is healing. If you can help, please bring it to the church office. Thank you!
In closing, we echo the Apostle Paul’s benediction in his first letter to the Thessalonians, when Timothy brought good news of their faith and love: “It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience before Him because of you? We do what we can, praying away, night and day, asking for the bonus of seeing your faces again and doing what we can to help when your faith falters. May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers. Amen.” 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 Message
Be rich in Hope, Forever Family!
Your Keene Church Pastors
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me ever to adore Thee,
May I still Thy goodness prove,
While the hope of endless glory
Fills my heart with joy and love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come,
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood.
O, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind me closer still to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart–O, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.