Subject: NCC Newsletter

View this email online if it doesn't display correctly
National Council of Churches Newsletter
NCC Newsletter

December 23, 2022

From Darkness to Light – 2022 Advent
Daily Advent devotionals are available on all NCC Social Media Networks. Come, let us reason together! Members of the National Council of Churches and all communion partners are invited to join in praying for hope, unity, and healing during this Advent/Christmas season (November 28 – January 1).

We give thanks to our NCC staff for offering daily prayers and to the Committee on the Uniform Lessons Series (CUS) for their work in developing the Scripture readings published in the Home Daily Bible Readings (Monday-Friday) and the Guide to Lesson Development (Sundays). You can find NCC devotionals and other updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Seeing Jesus at Christmas
Luke 2:25-38
During one Advent season, a St. Louis television news anchor announced, in a very serious voice, that some unidentified party had stolen the baby Jesus figure from the community's nativity display. The nativity scene included Mary, Joseph, shepherds, animals, manger, but there was no Jesus. They ended the report by asking that everyone be on the lookout for the missing Jesus.

More than 2,000 years since the first Christmas, people are still missing Jesus.

During the busyness of the holiday season, so many people are missing Jesus in the miraculous imagery of Christmas. Or, He's among a cast of Christmas characters - Santa, Rudolph, and of course, the Grinch. Others miss Jesus in the ups and downs of everyday life and question where can He be found when there is violence in our streets and homes, injustice in our communities, illness in our bodies, and even wars throughout the global village.

The close of the Christmas story, as told in the Gospel of Luke, introduces us to Simeon and Anna. Simeon is described as righteous, devout, and one upon whom the Holy Spirit rested (Luke 2:25). Anna is also described as devout: she never left the Temple, but stayed there day and night, worshipping God with fasting and prayer.

Amid the hustle and bustle of Temple activity, Simeon and Anna saw Jesus (Mark 2:28-30). The Bible teaches us that if we are to receive the fulfillment of God's promises we also must be in right relationship with God.

In Simeon's song (v. 32), he recognized that the Messiah, the Savior of God's people, was not just for God's people. God's Son was sent by God for the salvation of all humanity.

Anna praised God for witnessing the fulfillment of the promise of a Messiah and right away goes out and tells people about Jesus. She spoke to those who were waiting for God.

Even before Jesus had performed any miracles or done any teaching - He was a newborn - Simeon and Anna spread the news that Salvation had come to all.

What do you tell people about Jesus?

We, like Simeon and Anna, must live each day expecting to see Him, hear Him, and feel Him.

The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would find Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:27). Every time we come to worship, and even in our everyday circumstances, we ought to expect to see Jesus. Do not be satisfied with anything less.

At Christmas, may we all see Jesus! If our hearts are turned to God, we will surely see the Christ.

Merry Christmas from Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie and the National Council of Churches Staff!
NCC Condemns Blockade on Armenian Access Road
On the morning of December 12, Azerbaijani activists and soldiers set up a blockade on the road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, and thus to the rest of the world. Their action has caused widespread hardship among Armenian citizens.

The sole road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia has disrupted access to essential goods and services for tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians living there, according to Human Rights Watch.

Armenian residents of Karabakh have been stranded in Armenia, unable to return home. Karabakh health authorities are unable to transport patients to Armenia for treatment. Local authorities are warning of a humanitarian disaster if Nagorno-Karabakh remains cut off from fuel, medicine, food, and other vital supplies from the outside world.

The road, which is now blocked by activists and Russian peace-keeping forces, also prevents Nagorno-Karabakh residents from leaving the region; more than a thousand people reported to be stranded on one side of the road or the other are unable to reach their homes. Among them, dozens of children who had traveled to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, on a school trip and are now blocked from returning to their parents and homes.

NCC issued the statement below on December 21:
Deuteronomy 10:17-18
17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, 18 who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing.

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA strongly condemns the actions by Azerbaijan that have cut off civilians in need in Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh. In the season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus in a cold stable, it is particularly horrific that civilians are being cut off in the middle of winter. We stand with the Armenian Church and add our voices to those of the World Council of Churches, Pope Francis, and the Conference of European Churches. We call on the United States and its international allies to immediately pressure Azerbaijan to lift its unjust blockade and to allow food, medical supplies, and other essential resources to flow unimpeded.

Previous Statements
New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition Subject of Interview With Christian Century
Christian Century magazine recently conducted a behind the scenes interview with now-retired CEO of Friendship Press Rev. Dr. Joseph Crockett and Executive Director of the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL) Dr. John Kutsko. Friendship Press and SBL were tapped by NCC to conduct an extensive update to its New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible. The update has entered wide distribution from a number of publishers just in time for the Christmas Season.

You can read the entire interview "An Even Better Bible" at Christian Century's website

If you find our newsletter informative, please forward it to friends and colleagues! 

To receive our weekly newsletter, sign up here.

Your gifts help us build a more just and equitable community that chooses
grace over greed, love over hate, and faith over fear.

110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002, United States
You may unsubscribe or change your contact details at any time.