Christmas at Washington Cathedral


By Pastor Tim White

Happy Holidays.  What a great time of year! It looks like the holidays outside.  Rain and wind make for a perfect time to sit by the fire, read a book or have a soul-filled conversation over a cup of coffee.  It just feels like the holidays with this kind of weather.  And the joke is that we have this weather almost all year long.  But we don’t care.  It is a great time of the year.  

This Sunday Pastor Becca will be kicking off a life-changing message series called: Christmas Lights the Night.  She is sharing the Christmas story in an expository message from the Gospel of John.  At the same time, Pastor Michael and his elves will begin to decorate the campus with lights getting ready for our dazzling Christmas Eve services with real live animals and a petting area.  (Pastor Michael loves Christmas - he has It’s a Wonderful Life memorized.)  

And of course, we will be participating in all of our special projects to help those who are hurting in our community and around the world.  Every year it seems like Christmas ministries just grow at Washington Cathedral. One of our post-Christmas evaluations told us we needed to do less -- but do it better.  When we met as a staff we asked the question – “What should focus on?”  Every staff member was so passionate about the different areas of ministry that no one wanted to cut anything.  So, as the leader in this movement, I was led to lead the way. Therefore, after 33 years of Santa Conspiracy we are going to take a year off. This was a ministry that was so dear to my heart and you have heard the story of how the Lord started it.  We still have some bears, so we will be sending out a few Santa’s to carry on the good work.  

This year we need to impact our community with the life-rescuing message of Jesus Christ focusing on the impact of Christmas.  We have our ministry to the homeless; to the convalescent homes; the building of a new school in the Patmos slum of Kenya; hospitals, and neighbors who are looking for a faith -- these will continue.  It will be, I think, the most dramatic Christmas we have ever experienced as a church family.   Christmas Lights the Night dramas will be Friday, December 22, at 7:00 pm; Saturday, December 23, at 5:00pm, and Sunday, December 24, at 5:00pm. Our special guest for Sunday morning, December24 9:30am and 11:00am, worship services will be Dave Irish.  And of course, we will have our beautiful Candlelight Communion Worship at 11:00pm Christmas Eve.

Going into Christmas: 

  • Washington Cathedral Choir Christmas concert at Redmond Town Center Saturday, November 25, from 1-2pm.
  • The Mix Worship with Pastor Helio preaching and international praise including a potluck dinner on Saturday, November 25, at 5:30pm
  • Pastor Becca McCary preaching on the Sunday, November 26, at 9:30am and 11:00am, kicking off the series: Christmas Lights the Night.
  • Pastor Linda Skinner will preach the following week, December 2 & 3, on Christmas Lights the Night from the Gospel of Mark. Saturday, December 2, is our Volunteer Christmas party at the Café put on by Bill & Millie Porter.
  • I will be preaching the weekend of December 9 & 10 on Christmas Lights the Night from the Gospel of Luke.  For the kids (and anyone else who wants to join in) a special Christmas Cookie Decorating time led by Pastor Becca in the Café.
  • Pastor Becca McCary will be preaching the weekend of December 16 & 17 on Christmas Lights the Night from the Gospel of Matthew.  Plus - an all-church Christmas Carol sing-a-long with hot apple cider for 20 minutes of the service.  In addition, the youth will be having their Christmas party that afternoon.
  • Pastor Rey Diaz will be joining our preaching team at the weekend service on December 30 & 31, New Year’s Eve.

There are going to be a lot of great events and special ministry opportunities as we enjoy a focused - refreshing - incredibly inspiring Christmas at Washington Cathedral this year.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

And Hear the Angel's Voices!

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 4.20.48 PMIt's the final countdown! Just a few more days before Christmas! You may feel busier than ever as you try to pack in last minute shopping and trying to make very moment a family memory. In the midst of the hustle and bustle don't forget one crucial component to your Christmas experience: worship. In the words of that favorite Christmas song, "Fall on your knees! And hear the angel's voices! O night divine! O night when Christ was born!" Or as the bible says:

Luke 2:13-14 NLT "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others- the armies of heaven- praising God saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased." 

More than anything else, Christmas time is a time to worship God, as we remember the profound gift of His son Jesus Christ. There is no greater gift than the gift of this baby. So as Christmas day closes in, don't miss your chance to worship.

Action Step: Go to a Worship Service 

More important than making time for a tree lighting ceremony, shopping, or a work holiday party, is making time to worship our God for the gift of Jesus. Bring your friends and family to a worship service and make a holy memory. You won't regret this moment to center yourself, remembering what we are celebrating in the first place. You will leave blessed and prepared to be a blessing to others. Washington Cathedral has Christmas Eve services at 4pm, 6pm, and 11:30 pm. It's that simple.

Photo credit: Abby Lanes

Joy to the World! Smiling is my favorite! 

Christmas time is a time of joy, right? Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, yet this time of year is often the hardest for so many people. You or someone you know may find yourself reminded of loved ones lost, difficult childhood moments as a family, or maybe just some of life's disappointments. How can we be merry and bright with these challenges weighing over our hearts? tumblr_ld437wo7Ur1qay2gro1_500Joy in the midst of weighty situations can be seen even in our Christmas story:

Luke 1:26-29 NLT "In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, 'Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you!' Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.'" 

Mary was about to be given a weighty situation. A poor, politically marginalized, unmarried, teenager was about to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. In her Jewish community, she could be stoned to death for getting pregnant outside of marriage. When she received this news, do you think she immediately felt joy? Do you think she was smiling? No! She was disturbed and confused, BUT she tried to think what the angle could mean. She opened herself up to God's possibilities for her life.

Even on days you may be discouraged, remember God has a plan for your life. He wants to use you to bless other people. Open your heart up to the possibility of joy that defies reason this Christmas season. Even in this midst of discouragement there can be beautiful moments of faith, love, and community.

Action Step: Smile 

You may have a day or moment this week where you feel discouraged or down. In this moment, open yourself up to be used by God to bless someone. Smile at those around you. Pray for them. They may need it more than you realize. And who knows; embracing joy may even bless you too.

 Photo credit: Megan Davis

The Little Lord Jesus Lay Down his Sweet Head

nativity-siloutte080 Has this week felt overwhelming, too full, too busy, or just too much?! Most people feel this way around Christmas as you try to pack in work events, family events, church events, christmas shopping, the to do lists go on and on. Rather than racking yourself with guilt for getting swept up in the business of it all, just take a moment to pray.

The art of simplicity is not in becoming a recluse or completely disengaging from the world. The art of simplicity is found in this truth:

Mark 1:25-38 NLT "Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him they said, 'Everyone is looking for you.' But Jesus replied, 'We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came."

When Jesus had a lot of ministry to accomplish and lots of people needing him, that is when he took a moment to pray. You may think you are too busy to pray, but really the opposite is true. You are too busy NOT to pray. Yes, your schedule is full. Yes, lots of people need you. But you will not make it through this Christmas season with joy and peace, unless you stay connected to your Heavenly Father. So rather than getting overwhelmed, take little moments to lay down your sweet head. Take little moments to pray. Remember God has a plan for this day, this moment. He is with you.

Action Step: Listen to Christmas Music 

As you go through your busy day, turn on some Christmas music. It will remind you what this season, this day, this moment is all about: Jesus. As you sing along, allow your heart to pray. These little moments with just you and God will sustain you as you go through this busy season.


Photo credit: Nancy Bandzuch

Making a list and checking it twice!

It's here! It's advent! It's Christmas time! jesus-birthAnd before you know it your family will be making Christmas lists. As you rack your brain for every fun item you want, don't forget this truth: 1 John 3:1 NLT "See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!"

You are God's child. He made you, just as you are. He loves you more than you could ever imagine.

That's right, it's not the perfect items for your Christmas list that will make you better, more loved, or more complete. You are already fully and completely loved just as you are. You are God's child. So in the hustle and bustle of the season don't lose sight of who you are and whose you are. It's not a list that makes you; God made you, and he loves you.

Action Step: Make your lists!

Read 1 John 3:1-3 out loud as a family. To remind each other of who you are, take turns telling someone in your family something you love about them. Then, with that in mind, make your Christmas lists! Giving gifts is a great way to give and receive love, as long as you remember who you are and whose you are.