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Irondale Church News

Irondale Church is a place of promise to grow and belong

December 2016

Christ in Christmas
The pilgrims were English separatists that came to
America in 1620. As Christians who followed a strict
orthodox Puritan belief they
saw Christmas as a distraction from faith in Christ. As
a result, Christmas was not
a holiday in early America.
From 1659 to 1681, the
celebration of Christmas
was actually outlawed in
Boston. The Puritans made
it illegal to mention St. Nicolas' name. People were
not allowed to exchange
gifts, light a candle, or sing
Christmas carols. Anyone
exhibiting the Christmas
spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the
Jamestown
settlement,
Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed
without incident.
After the American
Revolution, English customs
fell out of favor, including
Christmas. In fact, Congress
was in session on December
25, 1789, the first Christmas
under Americas new constitution. Christmas wasnt
declared a federal holiday
until June 26, 1870.
Before
the
Civil
War the North and South
were divided on the issue of
Christmas. Many Northerners saw sin in the celebra-

tion of Christmas; to these


people the celebration of
Thanksgiving was more appropriate. But in the South,
Christmas was an important
part of the social season.
Not surprisingly, the first
three states to make Christmas a legal holiday were in
the South: Alabama in
1836, Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838.
This bit of history got
me thinking about our usual
desire to Put Christ back
into Christmas. It started
me thinking, Has Jesus
ever really been in Christmas?
In the years after the
Civil War, Christmas traditions spread across the
country. Children's books
played an important role in
spreading the customs of
celebrating Christmas, especially the tradition of
trimmed trees and gifts
delivered by Santa Claus.
Sunday school classes encouraged the celebration of
Christmas. Women's magazines were also very important in suggesting ways
to decorate for the holidays, as well as how to
make these decorations. By
the last quarter of the nineteenth century, America
eagerly decorated trees,
caroled,
baked,
and

shopped for the Christmas


season.
Was Jesus born on December 25? Although its
not impossible, it seems
unlikely. The Bible does not
specify a date or month.
One problem with December is that it would be unusual for shepherds to
be abiding in the field at
this cold time of year when
fields were unproductive.
The normal practice was to
keep the flocks in the fields
from Spring to Autumn. A
more probable time would
be late September, the time
of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, when travel was
common. Thus, it is rather
commonly believed (though
not certain) that Jesus birth
was around the last of September. [Dr. Henry M.
Morris, The Defenders
Study Bible (notes for Luke
2:8,13)].
So why December 25th?
There are lots of reasons,
but I think the answer for
today is, why not? When is
it wrong to focus on Christs
birth? When is it wrong to
dwell on the angels call for
Peace on Earth, goodwill
toward man? December
25th is a day we set aside to
be hyper focused on something that should occupy
our thoughts every day;

Pray Always
Pastor David & Colleen
Community Soup
Irondale Bible Institute
Our outreach and witness to our community
Busy Hands
People struggling with
illness
Young families and
single parent families
Those struggling with
addictions
Schools: students,
staff, administrators
Missionaries
Homeless, helpless,
hopeless and hungry
Those serving in the
military at home and
abroad
World, Federal, State
and local governments

Christ in Christmas, continued

A Gracious Thankfulness

God became a man and dwelt among


us. A man like us, to lead us, guide us,
die for us and free us from the bondage of sin.

And that same love


Can still be found where ever you are
'Cause Christmas is all in the heart
It's all in the heart

Singer songwriter Steven Curtis


Chapman summed up the Christmas
attitude with the song, "Christmas Is
All In The Heart."

So even though there is mistletoe


and Santa Claus, commercialism and
distraction galore, just let Christmas be
what Christmas is: the celebration of
the message of hope from God. As the
angel proclaimed to the shepherds,
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to
all people. For unto you is born this
day in the city of David a Savior, which
is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a
sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in
a manger. And suddenly there was
with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace, good will toward
men. (Luke 2:10-14 KJV)
-Pastor David

A gracious thankfulness rested on


her face, not what she had planned
not what she had hoped for and not
what she would ever have chosen for
herself or her family.
Having survived the death of her
first husband and left on her own to
care for their large family, here she
stood again, hard to believe after 17
years of marriage, but earlier that
spring she had laid to rest her second
husband. Now she faced once again
the burden of caring for their additional children and her former children
mostly grown but still needing the
mom and grandma in the person of
herself.
For a while it was too much just
too much.
She was losing the home they had
purchased, losing the community she
lived in, and losing what strength she
had to the overwhelming load she carried and finally, losing her structured
status in the church she believed in.
Her mental and emotional strength
capsized as her faith in God was shaken to its core. Gravely overcome when
the church she had supported that
touted itself as the self- proclaimed
Social services and helps program for
its disadvantaged members, failed her
as well. The church was casting judgments against the family she had faithfully raised in that church and denying
her what, she had done for so many of
them, Help when they truly needed
it.
Sadly for her it was the first time
she had seen that it was only a conditional love, that they extended as long
as you did exactly what they wanted
you to do, which she had done. She
faithfully continued on in that church
believing after all the 40 plus years she
had participated in, that she should
turn a blind eye.

In a one bedroom apartment


On the humble side of town
There stands a little Christmas tree
Looks a lot like Charlie Brown's
And underneath there's one little gift
for him
And one little gift for her
After six months on the new job
They're still barely getting by
So in the way of decorations
There's nothing there to catch your
eye
But both of them
Would be the first to say
We're together
We're gonna have the merriest Christmas
Anyway
'Cause Christmas is all in the heart
That's where the feeling starts
And like a fire inside
It touches every heart
And even if no white snow falls
That's all right because
The joy can still be found
Wherever you are
'Cause Christmas is all
It's all in the heart
No, it's not in the snow
That may or may not fall
And it's not in the gifts
Around the tree
It's in the love heaven gave
The night our Savior came
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A Gracious Thankfulness, continued


She had had many opportunities
to see the lack of the gracious love of
God, over those years, but covered
over by all the demanded good works
that she failed to see the conditional
works orientation of its true doctrine.
She held fast to its mantra of this is
the only true church and I have a burning in my bosom that was touted every
testimony Sunday.
Even though all around she had
the opportunity to see them fail in the
true service of love on so many occasions her eyes were blinded to the
truths. It named itself a disciple of
Christ but denied Jesus as the only
Begotten Son of God, claiming that the
men in the church would all become
gods and rule in their own worlds
someday if they held fast to the teachings of that church. They claimed that
we, especially the men, were begotten
of God and equal in parentage to Jesus.
The women in that church if they
obeyed without question the dictates
of their husbands, if he felt she had
been a faithful wife, church member
and had borne many children for him,
could if he felt she had pleased him
and the church, call her forth from the
grave. She was then to rule with him in
his new world with the rest of his
wives through-out eternity and populate this new world. If he chose not to
call her forth, well.
Forty years of doctrine, forty years
of teaching do not question what is
being taught even though your intelligence tells you its wrong. Never question the mandates of those placed in
authority over you after all according
to them the very prophet of God had
placed them over you. Teach your family to be law abiding people, lead
squeaky clean lives so the church
would be looked on favorably. Work
Irondale Church News

for the church, give to the church and


dont let your family associate in activities outside the church except sports
and scouts.
She did all that was required of
her and more, but she lived in a silent
fear of failure and rejection.
The years rolled on, her children
grown, many of them had become
disillusioned in not only in the church
they had been raised in but in the god
they had been taught was a harsh taskmaster and loved only on His conditional basis. They had never been
taught the freedom or the mercy of
God or of His most gracious and wonderful gift of His One and only Begotten Son, whose very life out of that
great love had been given up on the
cross, for our every shortcoming and
sin if we asked this loving God for forgiveness of our sins. Or that we then
would become the adopted child of
God and our eternal life was secure in
the perfect sinless life that Jesus, God
in the flesh, had accomplished for us.
Not by any works that we could do but
only by the work that Jesus did on the
cross for us by His living a sinless pure
life on earth.
Such a contradiction to all that she
believed was truebut she continued
to pray to the God she knew, and believe in the fallible mandates of her
churchs precepts. Brainwashed or
fearful to not question, Ill never know.
Many prayed for her, many tried
to share the True love of God with
her.
She would politely or not so politely listen. Her most famous way of
dealing with a conflict to her beliefs
was to change the subject midsentence, to a completely different
non-confrontational or confrontational
subject. She was a master at this. Her
other strategy was to become out-

raged at what she felt was a scoffing


of her faith.
This would launch her into an outraged defense, which led into a great
martyrdom. As she had been taught,
much anger was to be displayed and
indignation along with distain even
though the scriptures clearly revealed
the truth that was trying to be shared
with her.
Years went by, another marriage
and the death of this spouse as well.
Time carried on and so did the prayers
for this determined tough little woman
that she would one day receive the
Good news that God truly loved her.
Meanwhile her health failed physically and mentally time took its toll.
Her independence lost as she had to
be cared for in a private home, and
finally confined to a convalescent
home. In her fearful state she was
both sweet and difficult to care for and
on many occasions her family were
called on to come help calm her down.
You would have thought as she
reached her nineties that God had in
some way forgotten her, forgotten all
the prayers prayed for her, all the
many whom had tried so hard for all
the years to help her find peace in her
life and eternal security as her final
destination. She lost 4 of her children
and step-children and the disease that
was taking her mind was a gift because
she almost didnt know the pain of her
losses. What she didnt know as well
was that three of those children had
given their lives to Christ before their
deaths and many more of her children
who were still living had chosen Him as
well.
Time continued on and in her confused state of mind there were times
or windows of clarity when out of the
blue she would be rational. It was during one of those times that she finally
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A Gracious Thankfulness, cont.


heard and received the truth, that she
could not earn Gods favor, that He
had already loved her enough to die
for her sins in her place and by receiving Him in the form of His Son Christ
Jesus as her Savior and asking Him to
forgive her of her sins, she would receive that complete forgiveness. On
her acceptance of His free gift as she
prayed, this amazing little lady of ninety plus years became the true Child of
God she had always longed to be.
Peace filled her face and her life and
immediately those around her saw the
transformation, the miracle of the
sweet witness of peace in her life. She
sang all the while, was kind and gracious to her care givers and most remarkable was her thankful grateful
heart and the joy she passed on to
others.
People would say, What is it
about Nellie? They would say they
wanted to be like her when they were
her age. I could tell them the answer,
the answer was Jesus. Many spoke
after her passing how they had loved
to care for her just to go into her room
was a blessing and they often found
themselves there for no particular reason but to just be around her. God
never gave up on her or his plan for
her.
Just yesterday I was in a restaurant and was sitting behind a woman
and her mother. Obviously, her mother
suffered from a similar illness and the
daughter was very frustrated with her
moms behaviors as I had been at
times with mine. I couldnt help it we
had already opened a window of conversation and I shared with her that
her mom could most likely only now
taste sweetness (ketchup) and salt and
it had been rough when mine insisted
on pouring them both on as though
they were sidedishes. Then she allowed me to tell her a condensed verPage 4

sion of moms story and the message


of her salvation. So her witness and
the witness of Gods precious Good
News were able to be shared because,
Jesus came and loved us with abandon
as He lay down His life for us.
I love you Lord and with the most
grateful thanksgiving, thank you for
allowing her to live on earth for 97
years and that you built her a home to
live in for all eternity with a heart of
gracious thankfulness in your kingdom.
How happy my brothers and sister
and other family members must have
been to see her enter in to your heavenly kingdom. Thank you for teaching
me to never give up on You!
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry
Christmas,
Love, Colleen

A Long Time Ago in


Bethlehem
AlongtimeagoinBethlehemalittlechildwasborn.
And then, voil there is Christmas.
Are you like me in December?
Everything is hurried everything is
rushed so youll get done? About December 31st I realize its over for another yearI start checking my list.
Did I remember everyone? Did I
get them the things they asked for?
Did I overspend my budget? Did I do all
the things I needed to for Church. And
most of all did I just relax in Jesus and
let IT be about Him?
Most usually the answer would be,
no I did not. Mostly its been about
finishing my work and trying to love
everybody well. Not about just enjoying the Lord or His goodness to us all.
It mostly looks like the long runtogether sentence at the first of this

article. It looks like it is Christmas time;


not it is Christ Mass Time, when I just
spend time learning from Him, sitting
with Him, studying Him or spending
time just quietly in His presence contemplating the amazing gift that the
He, the God of the entire universe
which He created, would wish to spend
time with-- me.
Although a farmer by choice and a
servant of Christ by desire and with
much experience in a barn I have failed
to reflect on how amazingly precious
His gift of love was and is that He
would be willing to let Himself be born
in a barn.. The very King of Glory, just
so that in my finite mind He shows He
wants to identify with me and us.
That He understands and bears the
marks of human birth in lowly circumstances so that I we would know He
understands us. He tells us of His human birth but Godly conception.
In my rushing I have lost so very
much of His gift to me. Last year about
this time I also had to rest because of
the fall I had taken (shows you how
stubborn I can be that He would let me
fall over a fire pit to change my focus) this year it is yet again a shoulder surgery. I hope I learn from this
one to not be the center of the universe during Christmas. Not just making it X-mas, ({X} off my list,)
You see Gods gift to us was not in
our doing and giving but in our letting
God have us that He might give Himself to us in His fullness.
Have you ever given someone
something like a set of clothes that
they appreciated the sweater but
pants and socks not quite so much?
Well, its like that when we tell God
how much we love Him but never
spend time with Him. Its like when
you have shopped for a two year-old
for that chosen doll or truck but as
soon as its unwrapped they climb right

A Long Time Ago in

Busy Hands Christmas

Bethlehem, continued
in the box and play with it for the rest
of the day while the treasure goes untouched and eventually is placed in a
toy box. Meanwhile the box is used for
all sorts of things. God wants to
spend the day with you. He wants to
spend His life with you, He wants to be
part of your decisions and choices in
life and most of all He wants you to
share Him with others.
God in His fullness gave Himself
away to us. Please join with me this
year as I try my best to give Him away
to others first by spending time with
Him and treasuring that time set aside
so that I can share the joy of His presence with others because I know
Him. He is that true Father who so
longs for your presence that He gave
up heaven, lived a perfect life here on
earth, allowed His perfect sinless blood
to be shed for the sins of this world for
all who would receive Him. In His holiness He has removed that sin from us
to join Him one day in His Holy perfect
home of heaven for all eternity.
Trying to explain eternity, how
long that is its like jelly or honey in a
jar that will never ever turn to sugar or
crystalizeever. Its like the bottle of
milk that never runs out in the refrigerator, is always full there are always
eggs and whatever you need in there,
its like a manger in a stable that cradled the head of the baby human form
of the Most High God, impossible to
explain in human understanding but
only by faith and the evidence He
leaves in our life and the lives of those
around us. He is, He was and He always will be...forever and ever. He left
the presence of His Holy Spirit to direct
you/me, daily.
Receive him in Faith and let Him
be Christ to you. Share your faith, invite others to come and see what you
Irondale Church News

have found. Sit with Him, know Him


and unwrap the most precious of gifts,
Himself.
Merry Christmas, blessings on you
all!
-Love, Colleen

Grateful Soup
With grateful hearts, we are into
the fifth year of Community Soup. And
in this past week we served an all time
record high of 157 servings of soup, as
near as we can count!
I am so thankful for all of you who
show up every week to volunteer. You
are amazing! I hope you are finding
priceless rewards in your tireless service to our neighbors, because I cannot
think of anything that would begin to
show enough appreciation for all you
do!
Many of our hearts have been
changed through learning to love our
neighbors and love ourselves. That
loving can often stretch your heart! So,
we keep moving forward. Should we
order two more soup tureens and have
two people serving soup during that
hour when everyone seems to come at
once?
Let me know what your
thoughts are.
Thank you all who serve and come
to be served! You are loved and appreciated more than words can say!
Have a Merry Merry Christmas,
-Love, Kim

If you like to sew/quilt or would like


to make a difference in the life of a child,
please join us in the Fellowship Hall on
December 17. We have a small group of
ladies that get together and make quilts
that are given to children that are in foster care in the area. So often these kids
are taken out of their homes without
being able to take anything with them.
We try to provide them with a handmade quilt that is all their own. The
quilts have a label on them saying that
they are Made by Busy Hands at Irondale Church. Our goal is to get as many
quilts finished by Christmas as we can.
We would love to have a room full of
busy hands working on quilts, so please
consider joining us. If you dont sew,
there is still plenty to do!

Harvest Dinner
On November 19, we held our
annual Harvest Dinner. There were
about 200 people who attended and
enjoyed Turkey and all the trimmings.
Many Thanks to all the folks who
pitched in to cook turkeys, side dishes, and of course, pies. A wonderful
time was had by all!

Page 5

Pastor & Wife: David & Colleen Hodgin , Associate Pastor: Troy Norman, Visitation Pastor: Chuck Gadbaw
Irondale Church is a place of promise to grow and belong

Irondale Church
PO Box 959
681 Irondale Road
Port Hadlock, WA 98339
Phone: 3603851720
Email: irondalechurch@gmail.com
Www.irondalechurch.org

Elders: Dave Noble, John Jamison, Fritz Gordon, LeRoy Glessing, Dave Eddie
Council: Colleen Hodgin-Youth, Shirley Gadbaw & Melissa Norman-Fellowship, Mary Noble-Finance, Troy NormanWorship, Su Tipton,-Missions, Jim Wilcox-Interior Property, Kim Wilcox-Treasurer
Sunday: 9:30 Sunday School, 10:30 Worship, Childrens Church & Nursery; Coffee Hour, 6:30 Evening Bible Study
Tuesday: 4-6:30 Community Soup
Wednesday: 2:40-5:00 Kids Club ages 4through grade 5
Thursday: 11:00 Prayer Hour
Friday: 1:00 Revival Prayer
2nd Saturday: 8:00 Mens breakfast at Chimacum Caf
3rd Saturday: 10:00 Busy Hands Quilts for Foster Kids
4th Saturday: 8:00 Mens Breakfast at IHOP (Irondale House of Praise)

Irondale Church
PO Box 959
Port Hadlock, WA 98339

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