I do not take for granted those who read Church Talk and I do appreciate all of those who let me know that you do. This is a ministry and one I believe is God-given and I pray it is one that glorifies Him, builds His kingdom and edifies His children. So, in this Christmas Edition, this is my Christmas gift to you (and I can give you no better one)!

From the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2: “Joseph went up from Nazareth to Bethlehem (because he was of the family of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.”

And now we come to the shepherds, out in the field taking care of their flocks that very same evening:

“And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Fear not; I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born today in Bethlehem a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’.”

Then a whole choir of angels proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” So, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem and found everything just like the angel said. They left the manger glorifying and praising God and spreading the good news!

From the Gospel of Matthew chapter 2: Sometime later, no one really knows how long, but…“behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem inquiring, ‘Where is He that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him!”

Of course, the King was perturbed and called in his religious leaders to find out what was going on. They told the king that the prophets had said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. So, Herod told the wise men to go and find the “new king” and come and tell him where He was so he could worship Him too (of course we know Herod’s evil heart).

“Lo, the star which they saw in the east went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come to the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him…”

Now the rest of the story:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received and wherein you stand; and by which you also are saved…

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that He was seen…” (I Corinthians 15:1-5)

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”

That’s the story from the Bible, my gift to you. And now the “ribbon on the package”:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16)

“Who is He in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherds fall? Who is He in deep distress fasting in the wilderness? Who is He the people bless for His words of gentleness?

“Who is He to whom they bring all the sick and sorrowing? Who is He that stands and weeps at the grave where Lazarus sleeps? Who is He the gathering throng greet with loud triumphant song?

“Lo, at midnight, who is He prays in dark Gethsemane? Who is He on yonder tree dies in grief and agony? Who is He who from the grave comes to succor, help and save? Who is He who from His throne rules through all the worlds alone?

“’TIS THE LORD! Oh, wondrous story! ‘TIS THE LORD! The King of glory! At His feet we humbly fall, crown Him, crown Him, LORD OF ALL!” (Benjamin R. Hanby. 9thh century)

Wishing you all God’s gift of peace and joy at Christmas and always!

A Special Christmas Prayer

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, most of us will be gathered with family enjoying the blessing and festivities of the holiday. Let us not forget others who will not.

Let’s remember to pray for and help out our community’s homeless and needy; there are many avenues for that assistance.

And let us send up a special prayer for our military men and women, away from home, some in bases in America, others around the world in Afghanistan, Germany, Africa, the Near and Far East, all over the world. They are there to protect and allow us the freedom to celebrate Christmas is this way. And let us pray for their families too, waiting patiently at home for their loved ones.

Let’s remember our first responders: police officers, fire and emergency personnel, all on duty away from home, also to give us protection. If there is a danger, an illness or accident, a fire…they’ll be “first” to come to our assistance. Let’s pray for them and their families as well!

May God bless and protect all of those who are protecting us at Christmas and always; and may each one return safely home at the appointed time.

Community Christmas Dinners

The 30th annual Community Christmas Day Dinner will be held on Dec. 25 from noon-2 p.m. in St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 3301 U.S. 17 Bypass. Samaritan’s Feet will provide free shoes for ages preschool to high school.

Dinner will also be held at Belin Memorial United Methodist Church, 4182 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet from noon-3 p.m.

And you’ll find dinner at Flagpatch Apostolic Holiness Church, 630 Flagpatch Church Road in Loris, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Meals are free for everyone! Meal delivery is available if you call (843) 781-1326 by Dec. 23.

Please note that Trinity United Methodist Church of Andrews will serve dinner on Christmas Eve from noon-2 p.m. and will have free shoes for kids preschool-high school. (Call (843) 900-6833 by Saturday for meal delivery.)

Help spread the word! We expect at least 7,500 meals to be served. The event is made possible in part by a grant from the Chapin Foundation. Additional funding comes from individuals like you. Send your donation to “Community Christmas Dinner” c/o St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church or to Trinity UMC of Andrews.

Shoes are provided by Samaritan’s Feet and funded by the Pardue Children in Need Fund.

Human Trafficking Awareness

Mark your calendar for Jan. 10, 2019. On that date, Belin United Methodist Church, 4182 U.S. Business 17 in Murrells Inlet, will host a Human Trafficking Awareness Event from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

“Linking Together to Break the Chain” will include expert human trafficking speakers, pending ECU’s for First Responders and a silent auction. The event is sponsored by the Eastern Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ Brown Swamp United Methodist Church, 4725 U.S. 501 W, says “Christmas is a season to thrive, not just survive.” And you are invited to thrive with them.

Sundays at 11 a.m. “Calm and Bright Worship Series”; Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. “Advent Study: Wonder”; Christmas Eve at 5:30 p.m. Communion and Candlelight Worship Service. Phone (843) 365-3205 or go online to www.brownswampumc.org.

■ The Rock invites you to the following: Night of Worship, Conway campus (1408 Mill Pond Road), today at 6:30. Then don’t miss The Big Wonder Roadshow: Conway Campus, Sunday at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon, Monday at 4 p.m.; Coastal campus, C3 Coffee Bar, 201 Graduate Road, Sunday at 6 p.m.; Georgetown: Winyah Auditorium, 1200 Highmarket St., Saturday at 6:30 p.m.; and Aynor High School, 201 Jordanville Road on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Go to www.christmasattherock.org.

■ Langston Baptist Church, 763 S.C. 905, announces the following and cordially invites you to each:

A Christmas event, Carols & Candlelight will be held on Sunday at 6 p.m.

And don’t miss Evangelist Tyler Blue for one night, Jan. 12, 2019, from 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

■ The Catholic Church of St. James, 1071 Academy Drive, invites you as follows: Christmas Eve services: 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Spanish); Christmas Day, 12 a.m. (midnight) and 10 a.m. Phone (843) 347-5168.

■ Grace Christian Fellowship, 1223 S.C. 57 N. in Little River, will host a 17-week inductive Bible study on the books of I and II Thessalonians. This Precept Upon Precept study will be held each Monday from Jan. 14-May 19, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. Please purchase your workbook in advance. Contact Precept Leader Debbie Kiefer at (828) 400-9536 or e-mail debbiekief77@yahoo.com.

■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will be distributing food on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.

■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a Blessing Box located on the Broad Street side. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the box. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ Myrtle Beach Christian School, 1226 Burcale Road, will again present Journey To Bethlehem, an outdoor drama experience of the birth of Jesus Christ. This will be held on Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m.

Suggested donation is $5 adult, $3 child and all proceeds benefit La Iglesia Cristiana de Ponce, the church’s mission in Puerto Rico. Phone (843) 236-1121.

The church will also host the Victory Side Quartet in concert Dec. 31 at 7 p.m.

■ Journeychurch of Myrtle Beach invites you to Community Candlelight Caroling Saturday. Enjoy a scavenger hunt at 5 p.m. and at 6 p.m. The True Meaning of Christmas. There will be family friendly activities, drama, refreshments and caroling. The event will be held in Plyler Park with Boardwalk Caroling. Contact Pastor Jack Narvel at (843) 668-2945 or (843) 655-7084.

■ Ignite Church, 4808 N. Kings Hwy., invites you to its Christmas Eve Eve Candlelight service (that’s right, Dec. 23 at 5 p.m.) This is for those unable to make a Christmas Eve Service.

■ Grand Strand Baptist Church will have a Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service at 6 p.m. The church is located at 350 Hospitality Lane (near the racetrack). Phone (843) 236-2233.

■ St. Andrew Catholic Church, 3501 N. Kings Hwy., Christmas Eve, 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. (Spanish) and midnight; Christmas Day, 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. (Spanish) Phone (843) 448-5930.

■ Ocean View Baptist Church, 7300 N. Kings Hwy., invites you to its Christmas Eve Candlelight Services at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Phone (843) 449-3384 or go to www.ovbc.org.

■ Holy Lamb Lutheran Church (LCMS), 2541 Forestbrook Road, will have Christmas Eve Services at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.; Christmas Day Service at 9 a.m. and New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. Phone (843) 236-1344.

■ On Christmas Eve, Trinity Presbyterian Church, 2061 Glenns Bay Road in Surfside Beach, will have a Communion Service at 3 p.m.; then enjoy special music from 6:30 p.m.-7 p.m. and Candlelight and Carols Service at 7 p.m. Phone (843) 650-0313.

■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea, 65th Ave. North and N. Kings Hwy., invites you to Friday night service at 7:30 p.m. (Kosher Oneg), Shabbat Service at 10 a.m. (Kosher Kiddush).

Also: Sunday and Hebrew School, 9:30 a.m.-noon. (Information? E-mail pks@sc.rr.com.) No Sunday school on Dec. 23 or 30.

No classes on Dec. 26.

Current Second Nature Project: we are accepting comfort food items such as canned soups, mac n cheese, etc. to help both the Community Kitchen and Helping Hand. Place in the basket by the front door of the Rosen Center. All Mitzvoth greatly appreciated. Questions? Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.

Temple Emanu-El Israel Tour with Rabbi Avi Perets will be held on March 21-April 1, 2019. Get information now.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, has just opened its Thrift Store which will be open each week, Thursday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and in so doing you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ Seaside Community Church, 10125 U.S. 17 Bypass in Murrells Inlet (Inlet Square Mall), will host a supernatural Holy Ghost victory celebration presented by Miracle Deliverance Word Ministry. This will be held on Jan. 13, 2019, at 4 p.m. and speaker will be Pastor Tim McKenzie. Phone (843) 269-4802 or (843) 362-2614.

■ Calvary Christian School of Myrtle Beach will hold a charity golf tournament on Feb. 2, 2019, at Arrowhead Country Club, Burcale Road. Check-in will be held at 8 a.m. and a shotgun start begins at 10 a.m. Raffle tickets and mulligans will be sold.

Team entry fee if $400 and includes green and cart fees, door prizes, breakfast and lunch. There will be prizes for first, second and third place scores, longest drive, closest to the pin and a $5,000 hole in one prize. Contact Katie Hole at khole@ccsmb.com or (843) 650-2829.

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