I grew up with a ceramic nativity set that was lovingly handmade and painted by my grandmother. We would put it up every year along with our white aluminum tree one week before Christmas. My oldest brother now has the pleasure of displaying this treasured nativity set is in his home.
I got my very first nativity set in 2011, which is when I started here at First Presbyterian Church. It was at my first staff Christmas luncheon. We play a version of the “white elephant gift exchange.” It was a great and really fun fellowship time with my “new” work friends. Ultimately I received a beautiful ceramic nativity set.
This nativity set is treasured by me not only because it is my first as an adult, but it is also representative of my life here at First Pres. I have always been a Christian, but never found a church that I wanted to be a part of. When I came to work here, I found a new family, both through the job itself with my co-workers, and in the congregation. I was welcomed with open arms by everyone I met. Also, I was baptized four months after starting. First Pres has brought me closer to God and given me a peace that I never imagined. I know I was destined to be here.
And I will have pity on Loruhamah (Not pitied) and I will say to Loammi (Not my people), “You are my people”; and he shall say, “You are my God.”
Heavenly Father, we thank You for making us members of Your family and that we begin this relationship through the sacrament of baptism. We are grateful that as we become members of Christ’s Church we gain new brothers and sisters through our relationship to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we pray. Amen.
~ Connie Shipley