Merry Christmas First family friends! As easy as that is to proclaim to my people, it seems more natural and energetic after our time together Sunday. I want to take a moment to celebrate and appreciate the presentation of “The Christmas Song” by our FBC choir. It was moving to see such a presence in the loft and to hear such beautiful singing bringing such a powerful message. It was the highlight of the season thus far for me. I am especially grateful to our friend Dawne Eubanks who stepped in during our time of transition and made Sunday possible. First Baptist has long had a reputation for excellence in music and worship, and days like Sunday remind us of that. The talent behind the musical offering was a wonderful amalgam of faithful choir members, extra folks committing to the season, gifted young musicians from the St. Pete community, and our own remarkable leadership. This was a portrait of a great Sunday and a recipe for a great future as our best days of impressive praise are still ahead of us.
I am also grateful for those who participated in our annual Service of Hope. Some came with the fresh wounds of loss looking for healing. Others brought friends and family searching for the same. What we found was the power of presence; God’s and each other’s as we realized that in our darkest moments, we are not alone. And though it may often feel that way, we are not without hope. Blessings on our friends who gathered and the many others out there who share this story at this particular time of the year.
Lastly, we will linger for just a few minutes on Sunday to take church action on some important matters. Included in this week’s e-letter is the proposed 2020 budget and list of nominations. Each of these is a product of much work, prayer, deliberation, and personal follow up. I am grateful for the Executive Leadership Team and Nominating team for their efforts. Please take the time to take a look at what we will vote on Sunday morning.
Our season of “Visitations” continues Sunday when we take a look at Joseph’s angelic encounter. It was an unexpected visit that forced him to look deeply into his own character and capacity to trust God. I look forward as we gather to let the story of all stories do the same for us. I will see you there.