The angels said: “Be not afraid,
there’s joyful news for men.
The promised Savior has been born
this night in Bethlehem.”
“For this shall be a sign to you,
in swaddling clothes you’ll find
a baby in a manger laid,
God’s gift to all mankind.”
The song of praise grew louder still
as angels filled the sky:
“Good will to men, and peace on earth,
glory to God on high.”
The angels’ song is with us still;
through faith we yet believe.
We, too, shall sing the angels’ song
when heaven’s shore we see (SHZ 33).
On behalf of the LLC office staff, I wish each of you a joyous and peaceful Christmas season. Scriptures relate how many years ago the heavens opened as angels announced the birth of the promised Savior. The same joyful message, which comforts the weary traveler and gives hope of eternal Christmas in heaven, resounds today. May the message of God’s perfect gift to mankind be centermost as we gather with loved ones this Christmas season.
Updates on LLC Activities
• Around 90 LLC ministers joined the annual ministers teleconference originating from the LLC office, November 3. Board Chairman Jim Frantti opened the discussion by summarizing the current spiritual landscape in North America, both joys and concerns. While God’s children have felt the attacks of the enemy, God has continued to protect His kingdom and given strength to servants of the Word to continue the work.
• A wonderful Christmas gift for your family would be the new “Illustrated Home Bible.” It features over 200 Bible stories from both the Old and New Testament. Other publications featured as we approach Christmas include the 2017 LLC Wall Calendar and the 2016 Christmas in Zion. There are several other newly-released books and CDs available through congregation bookstores as well, and at llchurch.org. These products make wonderful gifts for loved ones and neighbors.
• Subscription renewal notices have been sent out for the 2017 Voice of Zion and Shepherd’s Voice. Once again, we thank you for your subscription, which helps to support the work.
• Representatives from Eastern Region congregation boards met in Detroit, November 5. Marty Pylvainen kept an introduction based on a Päivämies blog post, titled, “Letter to my friend.” A fruitful discussion followed that reminded of the need to reach out to loved ones, especially those who seem to be struggling in faith. Additionally, the meeting addressed terms for LLC Board members, HLC camp board members, and Eastern Region mission committee members.
• This year the LLC Christian Education department began producing Sunday school teaching videos under the theme, “Go Ye Therefore, and Teach.” The first video is “How to Create a Lesson Plan.” In December, we plan to publish the second in the series, “How to Use Resources in Your Lessons.” Like with the first, access information will be sent to congregations to use with their teachers, and it will also be added to the LLC website (www.llchurch.org) under Quick Links.
• Watch for announcements coming soon regarding core staff openings for the 2017 camp season. Notices will be sent to congregations in the December–January time frame. Especially note that there will be openings for paid kitchen staff at HLC for the months of July and August. This change is to lighten the load for overstretched Eastern Area volunteers.
• A webinar will be held January 7 for those scheduled to serve on mission trips to Kenya in 2017. It will give an opportunity to become somewhat familiar with such a trip’s itinerary and potential challenges. As God prepares these foreign mission fields, may those who are seeking find His gracious kingdom.
• In December, the Humanitarian Aid Committee sends an annual Christmas gift package to congregations in Ecuador, Togo, and Ghana. I have witnessed personally the joy and happiness that this brings to those in faraway lands. Year-end contributions can be made through the Humanitarian Aid link on the LLC website.
• It’s not too early to start making plans to attend the 2017 LLC Summer Services to be hosted by the Cokato congregation, June 30–July 3. Earlier this fall, along with the Planning Committee, I was able to tour the service site at the Wright County fairgrounds in Howard Lake, Minn. Similar to the 2016 services in Toronto, it will be a wonderful opportunity for families to attend. The service site is in a rural area away from distractions. Camping will be available at the site, with ample room for RVs. Additional lodging is being reserved in the local area as well. It will be a great opportunity for families to plan a summer vacation taking in services as part of the trip. Additional information will be forthcoming in the January Voice of Zion and on the LLC website.
May we all pause and reflect on the blessings that God has bestowed in the work of His kingdom. At LLC, we are also mindful of the generosity of believers who support the work of our central organization. May God richly repay you as only He can. I wish for you all abundant blessings in the coming New Year.
December 2016 Voice of Zion