by: JAMES O'BRIEN - Families line up to meet Santa at Hubbard's sixth annual tree lighting Dec. 7.Christmas time is here! We see the lights, the Christmas trees are going up and of course my family’s favorite, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” is on TV. The Hubbard area knew it was Christmas time when the community came together Dec. 7 at Centennial Park for the sixth annual Christmas Trees Lighting. This has been a great partnership with the Hubbard community and our church, North Marion Fellowship. Six years ago three trees were planted at the park and we had our first Hubbard Christmas trees lighting with some hot chocolate and cookies.

Six years later the trees have grown and so has the amount of people attending and the participation. This year we had Santa come along with his very brightly lit sleigh. The Hubbard Fire District had a fire truck that eventually took Santa to The Hub, our church campus on Highway 99E. Mayor Jim Yonally welcomed everyone and we had a countdown to light the trees. As you all know, it was very, very cold so we had the blessing of moving the festivities back to The Hub. We packed out a warm and festive building waiting for us as there was lots of hot chocolate, coffee and cookies. We were also entertained with a men’s barbershop group that sang Christmas songs for us and then led us in some carols. It was a great time of family fun.

As I mentioned this was the sixth year for this special event. It has been a privilege to serve alongside our North Marion community and not just during Christmas.

We started as a church in the fall of 2007 and have been blessed to meet at North Marion Primary School. Our motto is “Delighting in God…Loving People.” We know that Jesus came as a baby and grew into a man who shared his purpose in coming when He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Just before that He told his disciples, “Whoever wants to be great among you must become your servant…” That is attitude we at North Marion Fellowship want to have. We want to serve our community with the joy of Christmas all year long.

And it’s not just our church but what a joy to partner with other North Marion churches in a program called Backpack Buddies. Each week a different church (or local nonprofit organization) makes 100 lunches for 50 kids for the weekend at the primary school. That is actually increasing to 65 kids in January. It is also great to see churches working together to support the Jubilee Food Pantry (in Hubbard) as churches collect food that is distributed weekly to families in the area. Just this November people from the churches brought 75 turkeys that fed that many families.

This is what the message of Christmas is about, not just in December, but throughout the year. Jesus came as the “light of the world” and He calls us to “let your light shine before the men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

So as you enjoy the lights of Christmas be sure to let your light shine to your neighbors and community.

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