By Jaime Handley
Fall colors and pumpkin décor are changing the landscape around us. Churches are posting signs about harvest festivals. Christmas trees are even starting to pop up at mall entrances. And while this may feel unusually early, believe it or not, the change from summer to fall happens every year at the same time—and it always comes too early (well, for some of us).
So, to keep up with the trending pattern, we are presenting to you with not one, but two months early—our latest Christmas series, Thrill of Hope. This three-week, Andy Stanley Collection series takes a look at the how the anxious arrival of Christmas morning that we—and definitely our students—feel every year is a small taste of the eagerness with which the people of Israel waited for their Savior.
Here is a summary of this three-week series:
For 2000 years, Christians have gathered all over the world to celebrate the birth of Christ, and not just as a historical event, but as a powerful reminder that God doesn’t give up on his promises and as God’s children, we always have hope. The Christmas story began with the nation of Israel, a group of people that had good reason to lose hope—they hadn’t heard a word from God in hundreds of years. To the poets, prophets, and priests, it seemed as if God might have turned His back on them. The thrilling nature of the Christmas story is that God didn’t turn His back, and although He had been silent, He had not been still. A baby was coming. God was putting skin on and moving into the neighborhood. Hope crashed into the silence.
As well, as a Christmas gift to you—our wonderful XP3 partners—we are giving away a free downloadable video to use at the end of week three to wrap up the series and allow your students to hear the Christmas story in a fresh way.
Along with the Thrill of Hope series, we are featuring an initiative to get students and their families (along with the other Orange ministry areas of your church) on board with raising awareness and collecting funds for Compassion’s Water of Life project. XP3’s H2GO! Initiative is highlighted in the Thrill of Hope XP, Parent CUE and Small Group Questions Next Steps, so be sure to check out the H2GO! Leader Guide and the Thrill of Hope checklist to plan ahead and get your students involved in this wonderful, life-giving cause.
The fall season is a wonderful time, but a busy one too. So while you’re working to take care of your students, their families, your staff, your volunteers and your own families, be sure to take a little time to take care of yourself too!