God reaching out to man at Christmas provided the message for Chad Bennett, pastor of the Monett Community Church, for the Monett Kiwanis Club last week.
Bennett traced the Biblical prophecies about a coming messiah to the Book of Isaiah, written some 500 to 700 years before Jesus. At the time, the Hebrew people were "oppressed and depressed."
The weeks leading up to Christmas in Christian tradition are known as Advent, a time of preparation. In modern day life, Bennett said, Advent becomes a time for family, for making a schedule so that all the needed contacts get made, arrangements for a place to gather and even business plans to work in a celebration. This "abundance of preparations" makes the extra activities possible.
When God planned to reach out to mankind, the arrival of Jesus was anything but a carefully orchestrated event. God's son arrived as a fragile package, like his people.
When Bennett's first child was nearing birth, Bennett said he liked to poke his wife's abdomen and watch as the unborn baby would poke back. It was a thrill, even more so because the child could not see where its reach was going.
"Anticipation is a great word," Bennett said. The experience brings many ideas together. For an expectant father, it brings questions of readiness and the road ahead. The real work starts with the birth.
In the life of a child, a parent goes through many layers of preparation. Getting ready for a Christmas program, for example, Bennett his child changed parts in the play several times. As the father, Bennett had to get ready, asking his wife's advice on his clothing even as she rehearsed the child's lines for the play.
Even the most elaborate preparations occasionally fail. Bennett said in his case, they got all the way to the church for the Christmas program and found the child's costume had been left behind. He returned home to get it.
"You can't forget the baby Jesus and have Christmas," Bennett said.
Monett is a community Bennett has come to love. He described the town as having a solid foundation where people invest in their community.
Bennett was introduced by Dayton Mackey, program chairman. Kiwanis president Gordon Brown presided at the meeting.
In club news, Kiwanians helped collect $1,417.51 while ringing the bell during the Key Club's shift for the Salvation Army at Walmart. Eighty percent of the donations will go to Crosslines in Monett, with the balance going to the Salvation Army.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.