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Weekly Updates from Pastor Adam - Dec. 16, 2022

December 16, 2022
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Dear Resurrection Family,

My eNote will end with some recent news about Saint Nick, the first Santa Claus, and the recent discovery of his burial site (this is a true story – you’ll want to read this at the end of my note)! But first, exciting news about this weekend’s launch of our new location in the Brookside/Plaza area and an important word about what’s happening in worship this weekend, on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day.

RESURRECTION BROOKSIDE LAUNCHES THIS SUNDAY!

This is going to be an exciting weekend as we launch our sixth location – Resurrection Brookside. On Saturday we will have a special Coffee with the Pastors at Brookside so former Central UMC members and those who have become involved over the past three months can officially become Resurrection members. (Brookside folks can register here to attend.) Then on Sunday, we will have our first worship services at 9 am (modern music) and 11 am (traditional music).

I’ll be sharing a short video from Brookside at each of our locations Sunday asking you to pray together for this new location. If you have friends near this location, invite them to join us this Sunday. If you are involved at another location but want to check it out, that’s great, but please wait until January. We want to make sure that we have seats and a great experience for those people who may be joining Resurrection for the first time and those planning to be a part of Resurrection Brookside. Click here to view and share a short video Pastor Wendy and I filmed Thursday.

THIS WEEKEND IN WORSHIP ACROSS LOCATIONS

This weekend is the fourth Sunday of Advent when we light the candle representing Love. I’ll be preaching online and on TV and live at Brookside, while on video at Leawood and Blue Springs. My sermon will focus on three things we see about the real meaning of Christmas from the Oscar-winning Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street. At Resurrection West, Downtown and Overland Park our location pastors will be preaching on Christmas through the lens of the modern classic, Home Alone. Invite a friend to join you this weekend for an inspirational message of hope! Click here to send them the sermon series trailer.

It’s going to be an awesome weekend in worship at all locations!

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE RETURNED YOUR 2023 COMMITMENT CARDS!

Thank you to each of you who have returned your 2023 commitment cards. I am so grateful for your generosity and commitment to Christ through our church – an act of worship and devotion that also makes possible all of our ministries and programs. If you’ve not yet completed your 2023 commitment card, you can do that online by clicking here.

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE CHRISTMAS AT RESURRECTION POSSIBLE

Last weekend approximately 10,000 people came from all over Kansas City and across the Midwest to attend Christmas at Resurrection. It was outstanding. On behalf of the entire congregation, I want to thank the 300+ volunteers and staff who made this possible. They worked for months preparing and it was simply beautiful. As a congregation, we are so proud of each of you! If you were unable to see the production in person, we are making the video available for replay on christmasatresurrection.orgnow through December 31.

NEW ORGANIST AT LEAWOOD

If you worship at Resurrection Leawood, I’m excited to share that we have a new organist, Rika Heruth. Rika has dedicated over 38 years to teaching choral music and has held positions in Missouri, Kansas, New York, and Minnesota. She recently retired after serving for 16 years as the Director of Choral Music at Liberty High School, in Liberty, Missouri. Rika’s role as a church musician has spanned 50 years, having served in the Kansas City area at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Independence, Atonement Lutheran Church in Overland Park, and most recently, as organist, pianist, choir and handbell director at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Liberty.

WHICH SERVICE WILL YOU ATTEND ON CHRISTMAS EVE?

With 29 in-person services over three different days at 6 locations, 7 services streamed online (plus on-demand Christmas Day), and 7 television broadcasts (5 in Kansas City and 2 Tulsa) we have a place for everyone! We look forward to welcoming thousands of people this year. Here is the link to the Christmas website: cor.org/Christmas with all the details you can share with your friends.

If you are in Kansas City for Christmas, join us in person, there is nothing like it. If you are out of town, or can’t get to church, join us online or TV. It’s going to be deeply moving. If you are deciding which service to attend, and the time doesn’t matter, the services on Dec. 21 or 23 and the services at 9 and 11 pm at Leawood tend to have the most available seats. If you have little ones, all of our locations will have a special children’s interactive service at 10 am on December 24, which will have the same sermon and traditional passing of the candlelight. All services will have childcare for ages 4 and under, with the exception of the 9 and 11 pm services.

VIEW AND SHARE OUR CHRISTMAS EVE TV SPOT

I hope you have already invited friends and family to join you this Christmas Eve. Here’s a link to our commercial that will run this week. Share it with a friend!

DO YOU HAVE FRIENDS OR RELATIVES IN THE TULSA AREA?

This Christmas Eve, we were invited to broadcast our Candlelight Service on television in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The service will be on the NBC affiliate KJRH on Christmas Eve at 6 pm and Christmas Day at noon. If you have friends in Tulsa, please let them know! View and share the Tulsa spot by clicking here.

VOLUNTEERS DESPERATELY NEEDED FOR CHRISTMAS EVE!

Worshiping and serving are both ways we can celebrate Jesus’ birth. Before or after you attend a service, you can serve at another and help us welcome the thousands of people who will worship at our locations this Christmas Eve. Here’s the link to sign up to serve at our Candlelight Christmas Eve services in the Kansas City area.

CHRISTMAS EVE OFFERING SUPPORTS CHILDREN AND FAMILIES GLOBALLY AND LOCALLY

Each year, the entire Christmas Eve offering is given to support local missions and international partnerships and projects. On Christmas Eve I’ll share with you more about two of these programs Zoe, a program to empower orphaned children in Africa, which we hope to help expand into Uganda, and Pharmacy of Grace, an organization providing prescription medications to those in our community who are noninsured or underinsured. If you are going to be out of town Christmas Eve, you can find a link to give an offering at cor.org/Christmas.

CHRISTMAS DAY WORSHIP AT 9 AM AT ALL LOCATIONS

On Sunday, December 25, we will have worship services at 9 am at all of our locations. The location pastors will be sharing a special Christmas message. Online and TV broadcasts will be a replay of the Candlelight Christmas Eve service. We will not have childcare at the 9 am service, but children are always welcome in worship.

NEED A LAST MINUTE GIFT FOR A TEENAGER?

Parents (and grandparents), are you looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for your middle school or high school student? We have an idea for you – and it won’t clutter up your house, either. Give your student the gift of serving others in 2023 when you pay for them to attend a serve trip with Resurrection Students. If you register them before Jan. 1, you’ll receive 20% off the total cost of the trip! Learn more here.

VESPERS THIS TUESDAY

Join me on Tuesday at 7:30 pm CT on my Pastor Adam Hamilton Facebook page or check out the replay on YouTube after Tuesday. I’ll be sharing from the last chapter and epilogue of my Advent book on John the Baptist called Prepare the Way of the Lord.

THE ORIGINAL SANTA CLAUS’S GRAVESITE FOUND

I had planned to include this in my sermon this Sunday on Miracle on 34th Street but had to cut it for time, but I thought you might enjoy reading it here. Santa Claus was a real person, as you likely know – Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra. Myra is on the southern coast of Turkey. He lived from approximately AD 270 to 343. Tradition says his parents died when he was a young man, leaving him an inheritance. As Bishop in Myra, he would take gold coins, place them in stockings/socks and secretly distribute them to children and low-income families, at times, tossing them in the windows of homes so as not to be seen.

Recently the church in third and fourth century Myra was excavated. An earlier floor level was found, and there was found the sarcophagus of Saint Nicholas. His bones had been largely removed around 1087 and taken to Italy to be reinterred. He was himself inspired to do what he did by his faith in Christ. In turn his actions inspired others to similarly care for the poor. He is known by many names today, in Dutch Saint Nicholas was Sinterklaas which led to our Santa Claus – a name that literally means St. Nicholas. Up to the time of the Reformation, children received gifts on St. Nicholas Day – December 6.

In the 1500’s, Martin Luther sought to “put Christ back in Christmas” by focusing on the Christ-child as the reason for giving, and, in an ultimate sense, the inspiration behind giving. This is where the name Kris Kringle comes in – it is from the German Christkindl – which means Christ-child. Luther emphasized Jesus, as a child, being the inspiration for the bringing of gifts to children, recalling Jesus’s own care for children while he was alive.

St. Nicholas became Santa Claus, Kris Kringle – the Christ Child – was Luther’s attempt to recognize that the ultimate source of inspiration for giving gifts to children was Jesus himself. Gift-giving shifted from the Feast of St. Nicholas to the day we celebrate Christ’s birth. It was the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, that gave Santa Claus the name Kris Kringle.
Having said all of that, there are various versions of this history and the etymology – this seems the most reliable I can find 😊.

Ultimately, the traditions we associate with Christmas also have some pre-Christian origins as well. As we celebrate Christmas, I like the associations with St. Nicholas and Luther’s efforts to put the focus on the Christkindl – the Christ-child!

It’s going to be a terrific weekend, and an awesome week ahead as we begin holding our Candlelight Christmas Eve services, starting this Wednesday, then Friday, and throughout the day on Saturday. Once more click here to see our Christmas worship times!

Hope to see you this weekend!

Adam

Adam Hamilton

Resurrection Senior Pastor

Reverend Adam Hamilton is the senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection and the author of 22 books. He has been married to LaVon since 1982, and she has been a critical partner in every dimension of Adam’s work. They have two daughters and one granddaughter.

Adam’s writings are known for helping readers make sense of challenging theological questions, exploring the significance of the biblical stories, and equipping Christian leaders to be more effective in their work. He earned his MDiv from Perkins School of Theology and graduated with honors from Oral Roberts University with a degree in Pastoral Ministry.

Learn More About What's Happening Now at Your Location

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