Christmas on Purpose
by Zoro Mer, Connections Pastor at Granada Heights
Christmas on Purpose is an annual event hosted by Granada Heights Friends Church. We put this even on because people are generally more open to church during the Christmas season.This year, Christmas on Purpose was held on December 9th and it exceeded all of our expectations. The God that we celebrated was there and moving among his people with the theme “Hope is Born.”
This was the first year that we were able to make everything completely free. We had many visitors from our local community and from afar. It was even fun to have Adam Kemper (EFC Southwest Presiding Clerk and Lead Pastor at Northwest Community in Tucson, AZ) and his family come by for a while! Over 800 meals were served and there were plenty of booths for our guests to visit. We even had a “Chili Cook-off” contest where people were able to get their hot dogs or hamburgers topped off and even vote for their favorite chili. The winner was Neal Webster with his spicy Venison chill. Another booth you could visit was our Angel Cookie decorating station. Kids really enjoyed decorating those cookies, but enjoyed eating them even more! One of the biggest attractions of the night were our sled runs. We brought in 6 tons of snow to create two sled runs, a snow play area, and an “Olaf” – our very own life size snowman. These Southern Californian kids had no idea what this frozen water was! If you got too cold, you were able to relax near a fire pit where friendly Granada members stood by with plenty of items to make unlimited amounts of s’mores, hot cocoa, and coffee. We even had a calligrapher artist making personalized gift tags. Families were also encouraged to take a free 5×7 Christmas photo at our festive photo booth and make “Blessings Bags.” These were gallon zip log bags stuffed with numerous items – socks, tissue, dental hygiene products, food, etc. Over 100 bags were made and families were then challenged to keep them in their car and prayerfully consider who they would give theirs to. The part that gave purpose to the night was the presentation of “Hope is Born.” This was 25-minute display that included Teri Elfelt, our Children’s Pastor, sharing the message of Hope. There was also a free raffle for our community that consisted of many generous prizes. It ended with our Candle Light Choir and Orchestra leading us in some beautiful Christmas music.
As a pastor, this was considered a success on so many levels. It was a win for our church because the body came together to serve God and love on them. The unity that was displayed between the people for the common mission was magnificent. They were truly witnesses to their Jerusalem. Another way to stamp this as a victory is to look at the impact it had on the local community. Whether you were a church goer or someone seeking God, the night was a blessing to all. It wasn’t only a fun-filled night, but it also produced a clear communication of the Gospel! The local community can now recognize Granada as a church that puts on an amazing free event, where the people are friendly. This is an annual event that seeks to clearly present The Purpose of Christmas to the community. All Glory to God!