Church Family Newsletter | Christmas Eve 2021
Cadet Cody's Corner
I don’t know when it happened, but, in recent years I’ve become curious about the meaning of words. I understand “Merry Christmas!” to be a warm wish to strangers and loved ones during the Christmas season, but sometimes the words slip from my mouth without a second thought of the meaning behind the words. The definition that the Oxford dictionary gives for “merry” is “cheerful and lively”. Another definition is “to be characterized by festivity and rejoicing”. The definition given for “Christmas” is “the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church”. Whenever we wish someone this we are saying “Rejoice! Be cheerful and lively! Christ is born!” This greeting echo’s the greeting that the angels pronounced to the shepherds more than 2000 years ago in Luke, chapter 2.
I love songs that remind me of Christ's birth. I can listen to them throughout the year and not grow tired of their catchy melodies. In fact, I often start randomly buzzing Joy to the World or Silent Night with my lips as if to warm up for my euphonium. Instead of getting ready to play my instrument, I’m usually strolling around Walmart or the park (oh what looks I must get without my realizing, but I still find it entertaining so I persist).
Christmas carols present deep truths if we stop to listen to them. One of my all-time favorite tunes is O come, O come, Emmanuel. This 5-verse carol captures the longing of Israel for their long-awaited King. Each verse ends with the words, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel”. The haunting melody is both beautiful and somber. While I love the tune, I ask myself why does it sound so sad? The King has been born and we can rejoice that Jesus is alive!
One of the things that I have appreciated most about the Concord Corps is that it is a cheerful and lively corps! These past 6 weeks have been a wonderful time in my life, and I will cherish the memories and many pictures (Thanks, Major Ann!) for years to come. I have been encouraged, fed, loved, welcomed, taught, fed, challenged, reminded of Christ and His love, and fed. Did I mention fed?
The Concord Corps has shown me so much love in a little time. Before I left the Training School for this assignment, the staff told me that even though I would be going to Concord to serve and bless others, I would be blessed far more than I can imagine. This has certainly been the case. From the very first day I was welcomed and loved, and this didn’t stop after the first day. Day after day you showed me Christ’s love through your joyful spirits, conversations, listening ears that waited patiently as I fumbled through my words, and kind messages! Thank you for helping me celebrate Christ’s birth this Christmas season, and filling my heart with cheer!
Cadet Cody Trimmer
[Below are some of Cadet Cody's ministry moments. We know that this is not everything, but we were able to capture these moments. We were blessed to have you appointed to us and know that we will be praying for you as you finish out your training and prepare for the next place God calls you to. Enjoy these few days with your family.]
Patience, Prepositions and Perspective
“Patience is a virtue,
Possess it if you can,
Seldom found in women,
And never in a man!” — Scottish Folk Wisdom
“Patient endurance attained to all things;
Whom God possesseth in nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth!” — Teresa of Avila
I grew up heartily annoyed by the little doggerel at the top! I am blessed with patience and always have been. From time to time some have mistaken that for laziness or procrastination and I will admit to tendencies in those directions, but in general, I am content to wait until action is appropriate. I am happy to pray the supplication written by Reinhold Niebuhr, often referred to as the “serenity” prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.”
I often counsel people not to pray for patience because, by definition, you will have to wait!
It is interesting to take note of prepositions in scripture because they clarify the meaning in unobvious ways. For example:
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” [Psalm 1:2 KJV emphasis mine]
Prepositions change your point of view. Meditating in the law is quite different from meditating on the law. One position is from the inside looking out, whereas the other is from the outside looking in. It is so much better to be in the will of God and relating outside circumstances from that position than the reverse. Being in the will of God allows us to enjoy the perspective that He is actively working everything together for our good on a timescale that maximizes our benefit and His glory. [see Romans 8:28]
The opposite of patience is worry. Worry imagines outcomes that might happen, but seldom do, and just serves to divert our faith from the certainties of God’s sovereign will. Any time we start to worry it is useful to read Psalm 46, to remind us that God is both our refuge and strength and he will accomplish what he plans. Take special note of Psalm 46:10,
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
“Know” here means to be absolutely certain from experience that God has the circumstances under control despite any appearance to the contrary.
This is a constant theme in David’s Psalms:
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” [Psalm 37:7 NIV emphasis mine]
So patience is just a willingness to wait for God to work out His plan in the circumstances rather than imploring Him to adopt ours. There is no contest about whose plan is better!
So God’s words for today are “be still”, “don’t fret”, “wait patiently”.
If you can have your perspective from the center of God’s will, you will indeed have serenity knowing that everything that can be done is being done, and what you can’t influence will be to your advantage.
On the other hand, if there is instruction for us to do something, the advice of Jesus’ mother Mary is applicable:
“Do whatever he tells you.” [John 2:5 NIV]
Thus both our doing and our waiting will be productive. At least that’s my perspective!
Blessings on you and yours,
1 Corinthians - Christmas Version
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. (A good point this week.)
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But giving the gift of love will endure.
Bell Ringing Stars
Special mention to our TLP as each of the men went out to volunteer for at least one day. Together, they raised $5,656! Edward McElroy was the highest with $751 in one day.
The donations will go towards our mission to "preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in His Name without discrimination".
Major Gwyn Edward Jones
This Week's Schedule
- 9:00 AM - Jr. Praise Team Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - Sunday School - Library
- 10:00 AM - Family Time: Christmas Craft & Continental Breakfast - Fireside Room
- 11:00 AM - After-Glow Worship Service - In-Person and Streaming on The Salvation Army Concord Corps Family Facebook Page (not the general page)
MONDAY: Office Closed
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study
THURSDAY: Office Closed
FRIDAY: Office Closed
SATURDAY: New Year's Day
- Look out for Major Gwyn Jones, Rhys, Kaylynn, Morgan, and Aaron playing The Salvation Army in the Rose Parade!
- Captain Larry Carmichael will be leading the service.
Divisional Junior Soldier Rally
Theme: "Training Day"
Date: January 22, 2022
Location: Sacramento Citadel
2550 Alhambra Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95817
Ages: 7-13 years old
The registration deadline is January 17, 2022. No fee.
Message Major Ann if you would like your child to go mailto:email@example.com.
Territorial Holiness Retreat
Theme: Holy Living - "Set Apart" (John 3:15)
Dates: February 3-6, 2022
Location: Camp Del Oro Conference Center
A good time of worship and study of the Word together. Commissioner Mark Tillsley will be leading the Bible studies.
Proof of vaccination or COVID-19 test required.
Registration deadline is January 22, 2022.
Register here: https://events.usawest.org/Home.aspx
Territorial Youth Leaders Conference 2022
Theme: Base Camp
Dates: February 21-25, 2022
Location: TYLC will take place at Crestmont Campus in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. (Just outside Los Angeles, CA
Event Attendees: This event is intended for those who work with youth regardless of status as a Corps Officer, paid youth leader, or volunteer youth leader. Keep in mind that there is only space for the first 300 to attend, and each corps can receive up to 2 spaces (one for a Corps Officer and one for a Youth Leader).
Registration closes Sunday, January 23, 2022.
Fees: $150 per delegate. The corps will assist with a portion of this.
Please complete the full registration to reserve your spot at https://events.usawest.org/.
Major AnnMarguerite Jones is registered, but she is hoping that one more leader can go along with her. If you would like to attend, please let Major Ann know so that she can assist you with the registration process as there is a special code to use at checkout.