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Heppner Gazette-Times, Heppner, Oregon Wednesday, December 21, 2016
and hope from area churches
Joy to the World!
Joy? Really? It’s been a hard year for a lot of people.
So many well-loved members of this community have
been laid to rest. Our country has been battered by vio-
lence, fierce weather, and an extraordinarily contentious
election that has exaggerated our differences. Around the
globe, thousands have been victimized by acts of terror,
warfare, starvation—and by drowning, in an effort to flee
those threats. For many people, joy has been very hard to
come by this year. Fear seems like a better fit with reality.
But on Christmas, we’re confronted with an angel
who disagrees: “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bring-
ing you good news of great joy for all the people” (Luke
2:10). We’re reminded that, thanks to God’s limitless love
and boundless generosity, we have access to joy of a dif-
ferent quality and kind than the fleeting emotion we’ve
been missing. This joy isn’t dependent on external facts,
but on eternal truths. The birth of Jesus and his ministry,
death and resurrection shine light and hope into every
darkness, and give us reason to be joy-filled people even
when, in the world around us, nothing seems right. When
Jesus lights our way, we can have lasting joy at the core
of our being—whether we’re happy or sad, confident
or fearful—because Jesus has shown us just how much
we’re loved and forgiven by the God who cared about
us so much that he put on human skin and entered this
messy world to prove it. God loves us. Period. Those who
believe it get to experience a variety of joy that noth-
ing—no sickness, no loss, no disaster—has the power to
uproot from their hearts.
This Christmas, open your Bible and meet joy in the
manger once more. Nurture that joy all year long with
gratitude, generosity and compassion. But beware; joy
can be highly contagious. This whole corner of the planet
could get infected, one person at a time. Now wouldn’t
that be one of the best Christmas surprises ever?
Joy to the world indeed. Let every heart prepare him
room, and heaven and nature sing.
Rev. Katy Anderson,
Shared Ministry of Hope Lutheran and All Saints
Let’s Be Like Christ
As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
may we ever remember that He is the light and the way.
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the
light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in
darkness, but shall have the light of life’” (John 8:12).
Let’s be more like Christ during this time of year. “Let
your light so shine before men, that they may see your
good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven”
(Matt. 5:16). One of the best ways to let your light shine
is to serve one another. As we strive to become more like
Christ we will feel the love that our father in heaven has
for each one of us.
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfast-
ness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a
love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press
forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to
the end, behold, thus saith the father: Ye shall have eternal
life” (2 Nephi 31:20).
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we
preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ, and we write
according to our prophecies, that our children may know
to what source they may look for a remission of their sins”
(2 Nephi 25:26).
Christmas is all about Christ. Christ has set the ex-
ample. May we ever remember to feast upon His words
and do those things that we know to be right. During
Christmas this year may we all give thanks to Christ for
the many blessings He has given us.
Elders Hall and Holliday,
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The Manger and the
Mandate to Love
A message from God, whispered by an angel. The
simple, incorruptible faith of a young woman. The cour-
age of her man.
An arduous journey. Nowhere to rest. A baby is born
who lies nestled among God’s creatures in a manger.
The angels sing and shepherds appeared to gaze
lovingly upon the scene. A star shines bright for all the
world to see.
The timeless story of the Nativity. Told and re-told
throughout the ages.
Many of us will gather on Christmas Eve to hear the
story one more time through scripture and song.
In our mind’s eye we will see a beautiful baby Jesus,
swaddled in old cloth, held tightly by his mother Mary
while Joseph and the shepherds look on and animals mill
about the stable.
Humankind’s first glimpse of Christ the Lord, the
King of Kings.
So warm and inviting. So nostalgic.
And for all that the Christmas season brings—for
every Christmas story recounted in the Bible—we must
remember this birth is the beginning. “Your savior is born
today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
God’s promise fulfilled. What a wonderful story.
But what comes next is where we, as loving, caring,
human beings fit into the equation. “. . . And what does
the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
This is God’s mandate for us.
As a community of believers it is our responsibility
to look beyond the baby in the manger and reach out to
all God’s children. All. No exceptions.
Because the child in that manger is every child in the
world. Like Syrian, Afghan or Somalian children trying
to flee their war-torn countries or babies from Yemen or
Ethiopia who are dying by the thousands from starvation.
The abused. The homeless. Those who have no access
to healthcare or schooling or skills to keep their bodies
safe from harm.
God calls us, every one of us, to do all we can and
We must open our eyes, our hearts and finally lend
our voices loudly so no child in our city, on our own
block or in a neighborhood across town goes without the
basics of food, clothing and shelter and the love Jesus
insists we share.
Our job is to spread that light that shone over the
manger so the message of the adult Jesus to “care for the
least of these” can come to fruition through our actions.
Our wish for the world is that the promise of that
baby, born so long ago, becomes manifest through us all.
Patty Nance, Pastor
Heppner United Methodist Church
from Heppner Christian
Church to everyone who
reads these words. It is our
prayer that you enjoy the
traditions of Christmas, of
decorated trees, lighted houses, dinner with family and
sharing in the giving and receiving of gifts. Many of you
will travel great distances to be with loved ones while
others are fortunate to have family just down the street
or out in the country a few minutes away. In all of your
celebration it is our desire that you do not forget the real
reason for Christmas and what it is truly about.
Christmas is the greatest love story to ever unfold
to and for humanity. It goes beyond anything novelists,
playwrights or movie directors can think of and write or
portray in a movie.
Christmas is the story of God the creator’s love for
mankind, His creation. When we read the story of the
birth of Jesus the Messiah in Luke 2 we are reading of
the love God has for each of us. It is a story that is not for
children only; it is a story for all of mankind no matter
their gender, race, political affiliation or age.
However, it is not the end of the story but just the
beginning of the story. When we read all the book of Luke,
we find the baby (God in the flesh) in the manger grew
up and became a man who truly lived among mankind.
A man who fed the hungry, healed the sick, walked on
water and turned water into wine. A man who had em-
pathy for those whose loved ones were sick or had died.
A man who made the religious leaders of His day very
uncomfortable and, for that matter, makes many of our
religious leaders today very uncomfortable.
Jesus (God in the flesh) did more than just love you
and me; He was willing to sacrifice Himself so that we
can have eternal life with Him in Heaven. As we celebrate
Christmas this week I pray that we do not lose sight of
why, on that night long ago in the little town of Bethle-
hem, the child was born to a virgin.
Let us not forget it was not breaking news on CNN or
Fox News which announced His birth. It was announced
by angels sent by God to tell the world what had hap-
pened. That the long-awaited Messiah had arrived. The
promise was fulfilled and salvation had come for all of
mankind. The love story was beginning to unfold for all
of mankind to see.
Maybe Charlie Brown said it best when asked “What
is love, Charlie Brown?”
“A man, called Jesus,” was his reply.
Enjoy love this season. Enjoy Jesus.
Minister Ray DeLoe,
Heppner Christian Church
Weather doesn’t stop annual Heppner
-From PAGE ONE Jewelers, Dr. Dick Temple,
Even though there was
plenty of snow and ice on
the ground on Thursday,
it didn’t stop Heppner
Chamber’s annual Christ-
mas event. There was a
meal served by the Hep-
pner Elementary Parent/
Teacher Club, a no-host
bar set up by Bucknum’s,
elves to pose for pic-
tures, Santa and, of course
Scrooge (who gave out a
few $10 rewards cards,
much to his chagrin). Al-
together, there were 50 gift
cards/certificates and 243
prizes distributed to those
who shopped locally and
participated in the reward
Prizes were donated
by our local merchants:
Diner, Morrow County
Grain Growers, Peterson
Heppner High School,
Bucknum’s, Heppner Mar-
ket Fresh Foods, Gateway
Café, Murray’s, Wood on
Wood, Artisan Village,
Dennis and Babette Wall,
Heppner Auto Parts, Les
Schwab, Pettyjohn’s, An-
drea Di Salvo-Usborne
Books, Devin Oil/Shell
Station; Devin Mobile-US
Cellular, Hair I Am, Hair
Expressions, Head to Toes
Salon, Petra Payne-Scent-
sy, Kellie Gray, and Bran-
non’s Auto Repair
Prizes also were do-
nated by out-of-town
merchants: Alive & Well,
Walmart, Hales Restau-
rant, Bi-Mart, Route 74,
Starbucks – Hermiston
and Pendleton, Columbia
Center Mall, Hamley’s
Steakhouse, O So Kleen,
Ranch and Home, Pend-
Steve Rhea doesn’t look so Scrooge-like posing with Kooper
Miller (left) and Cage Chandler at the Celebrate Heppner
Christmas event last week. -Photo by David Sykes
leton Round-Up, Olive house, Outback, Prodigal
Garden, PF Chang’s, Cot- Son Brewery and Pub, and
tage Flowers, Smitty’s Ace East Oregonian.
Hardware, Texas Road-
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