“Come and worship!”

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5 Jubilant at God’s magnificent work, “The morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” Job 38:4-7

“Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the Infant Light;
Come and worship!”

Centuries after Adam and Eve doubted their Creator in Eden, people’s lives felt formless and empty. Darkness was deep. Still, the Spirit of God hovered near. In the fullness of time Jesus, the Light of the World, was born, separating spiritual light from night. An angel appeared to some amazed shepherds, proclaiming “‘good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’ . . . And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” Luke 2:8-14 The shepherds found Jesus, and worshiped.

“Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.
Come and worship!”

Wise men, bearing gifts, followed a star in search of the King of Kings. When they found Him, they, like the shepherds, reverently bowed. From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture reveals that worship and praise are the honest heart’s natural response to God. This month, at Keene Church, musicians of all ages and talents will lead our adoration for our Lord and Savior. Little children will lead us (Isaiah 11:6) tomorrow afternoon, when Keene Adventist Elementary School presents its Christmas cantata, “Miracle on Bethlehem Street,” in our Sanctuary at 4:00. KAES Handbell and Marimba Choirs will provide our morning worship services’ music in the Sanctuary, as well. You’ll find a list of other concerts later in this newsletter.

Pastor James Winegardner, our Senior Pastor, will preach about “Real People, Real Christmas” in our 9:00 and 11:30 Sanctuary worship services tomorrow morning, introducing his December sermon series. Glen Robinson will tell the children’s story, and Mickey Johnson will offer our congregational prayer.

Young adults, it’s been an exciting autumn in The Middle Service as we’ve discovered the book of Revelation through the Positive Apocalypse sermon series that Pastor Albert Handal has prepared especially for you! This week’s sermon title is “Questions and Answers.” Come early for a good seat! Contagious Faith will lift your hearts with praise music, too!

Come to your general church potluck this Sabbath in the Fellowship Hall after second service, sharing Christmas cheer right here! Be sure to bring plenty of extra food and warm hospitality for our guests!

Thank you from Louann Habenicht and your Decorating Committee – “Church Family, it has been my honor to serve our church as Decorating Chair for the past four years. Our team has worked together to update God’s house and to help preserve our church history. Please take a moment to thank the members of our committee whose terms expire with mine: Carolyn Power, Connie May, Michelle Beeson, Richard Spotts, and Billie Hopps. Also, thank you to all that took time last Sunday to come help our Christmas Decorating Committee make our church beautiful. Special thanks to the Maintenance Committee for all the power!!!”

SPF (Study, Prayer, and Fellowship) offers just what you may need midway between Sabbaths: a quiet, interesting, spiritually encouraging hour among friends, focusing on God’s Word. On Wednesday evenings at 7:00 in the Chapel, James Winegardner is showing us God’s faithfulness and patience as Jacob gradually comes to know Him better.

Do you know of people praying? If you’re part of a prayer group of any kind, please inform the church office during December. Thank you!

Art for Awareness – Art students from Southwestern Adventist University and Chisholm Trail Academy will share their works of art at Keene Church on December 3 and December 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The artwork follows the theme of helping those less fortunate. Please support this cause and donate to the Johnson County Christian Lodge. You can drop off paper goods, toiletries, diapers, and hygiene products at Keene Church on these Sabbath mornings.

Angel Tree – There are so many Texas youth in foster care in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. You have the opportunity to help make a youth’s Christmas a bit brighter, fulfilling their wish. Please select an envelope off the Angel Tree and follow the instructions inside. Gifts need to be returned to the church by December 10 to ensure the workers can deliver them in time for Christmas. For information call Renee Tyler, 817-658-3198. Thank you so much!

The 21st annual Keene Christmas Light Parade and Fireworks Show is at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, December 4, along Old Betsy Road. The fireworks show will be about 7:45 p.m. at Callicott Student Park. All parade entries should have decorative lights and adhere to the theme “The Reason We Celebrate the Season.” Staging for floats to be judged is 9:00 p.m. at the Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium parking lot. Categories are best: lighted vehicle, lighted float, animal entry, business entry, children’s entry, artistic impression, Pathfinder Club, Adventurer Club, antique car, most unique, and best overall. Entry fee is four small packages of dry dog food for Keene Animal Shelter. Register on site starting at 4:00 p.m. To inquire further, contact Keene Chamber of Commerce at 817-556-2995.

Dulce Alvarado, who directs our Children’s Orchestra, invites you to a Kids’ Strings Recital on Sunday, December 18, at 7:00 p.m. at Wharton Auditorium. She especially invites families with children whom they would like to introduce to musical instruments. “It’s a kids’ recital for kids,” she explains.

Christmas concerts and programs

Keene Adventist Elementary School Christmas Cantata, “Miracle on Bethlehem Street,” this Sabbath, 4:00 p.m., Sanctuary
“Nutcracker and More” – KAES Piano Recitation, December 4, 1:00 and 2:30 p.m., Wharton Auditorium
Southwestern Adventist University Orchestra Concert, December 4, 4:30 p.m., Wharton Auditorium
Southwestern Adventist University Music Department, December 9, 7:30 p.m., and December 10, 9:00 and 11:30 a.m, Sanctuary
Chisholm Trail Academy Christmas Concert, December 10, 4:00 p.m., Sanctuary
Camerata, December 10, 7:30 p.m., Chapel
Christmas Concert (KAES Bands and Marimbas), December 11, 3:00 p.m., Evans Hall
Keene Worship Choir, December 16, 7:00 p.m., Sanctuary, and December 17, 5:00 p.m., Sanctuary
Kids Strings Recital, December 18, 7:00 p.m., Wharton Auditorium
Brazos Choir, December 24, 9:00 and 11:30 a.m., Sanctuary
In conclusion –
“Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear;
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.”

Above all, Forever Family, may Jesus reign in our hearts this Christmas!

Your Keene Church Pastors

* “Angels from the Realms of Glory,” Luke 2, James Montgomery, 1816