Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)
In life, and in the life of a church, I think people often assume that if we are attempting something “new,” we are forgetting about the old. This line of thinking often misses the truth of many a “new” situation; the new can only exist because it is being built upon a solid foundation established by the “old.” In other words, “new” would not be possible if the “old” had not prepared the way for the “new.”
We see such a connection between the old and the new in Scripture. Jesus’ completion of the New Covenant was possible because the Old Covenant first served as a shadow and copy of “better” things to come. As many have been learning in the class on Hebrews, the Old Covenant wasn’t bad, it simply was incomplete, unable to truly bring about redemption for the people. Thus, God enacted a new plan with a better high priest and sacrifice through Jesus Christ.
I have heard a few in our community and even our church grumble with frustration that HBC is doing away with the “good old Living Christmas Tree.” I write the two paragraphs above to show that what HBC is doing with what was formerly called “The Living Christmas Tree” is building upon its GREAT foundation to create a new worship experience that will honor what the Living Christmas Tree was about, telling the story of Christ’s birth. Matter of fact, many of the same elements from past Living Christmas Trees will still be present; a community choir, multiple means of instrumentation, and congregational participation.
Yes, this year’s Christmas Worship Service will be in many ways something “new.” But, I encourage all of us to know that whatever “new” we are doing is built upon the wonderful foundation of what was “old,” a Living Christmas Tree experience that for many years stirred our community. I pray that we as a church and community can trust that God is doing a new thing, built upon the old, with our Christmas Worship Service. And, I believe that when the weekend of December 9th and 10th is over, all will walk away feeling as if they worshipped the birth of “our newborn king.” Save the date. The new, built upon the old, will uplift us all!
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Hardinsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.