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Dear <<First Name>>!

Merry Christmas!                    December 20st, 2020    

I have TWO GIFTS for you this Christmas season!

1. The first gift is TIME TOGETHER. You are invited to a casual Zoom drop-in with me this coming Saturday, December 26th,  7pm-8pm Pacific,
10pm Eastern.

You don't need to register, you don't need be on time and you don't need to stay for the whole hour. Besides possibly fielding questions, my goal is to simply hear from you.  Whether you can make it or not, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to drop me a line here

Many of us cannot gather with biological nor church family this Christmas so I thought a Zoom get-together would be mutually beneficial if you're able to drop by. Here are the Zoom Credentials: Meeting ID: 262 290 0637. Passcode: face

And this is the Zoom link. 

Add 12/26 @7pm PST to your calendar before you forget. 

2. The second gift - I want to give you a copy of the new book.  Last month, I shared about the new book I contributed to“Honor, Shame and the Gospel." Authors of the other chapters and endorsements represent the leading scholars, practitioners.  and professors of the last few decades on this subject. Our current pandemic makes this subject more relevant than ever and I'd love for you to have it in your hands because I believe it'll further the way you embody Jesus among everyone you know. 

I'm extremely honored to have been selected for inclusion; I document that journey here.  Let me know whether you'd like a hardcopy or Kindle version by contacting me hereHere's a picture of the cover along with the front page of my chapter:



 With so many restaurants and businesses struggling or closed, I wanted to close this letter with a story of "You're not alone" in my neighborhood. 

Before the pandemic,
my local record store was not just a great place for to look for gifts for others, but one of my favorite places for community. The owner's mom, a woman in her 60's is one of the most connected people in the neighborhood. There was scarcely a moment in her store where she was not talking to people, a varied crew that included musicians, city officials, and many colorful folks.  As I began building trust with her and as I brought  my story and pictures of the Kingdom into our conversations 
about music, politics, and the vulnerable, I found her receptive. 

With the pandemic, her store has been closed since March. But for her and for other local shop owners, I make it a point to continue to patronize and engage as God gives opportunity. Even if I don't know them, I might simply ask how business has been, anything to give them space to share. This gives them space to feel that they are not alone. I believe God uses these touch points to draw people to him. 

But for people that I know better, like this record store lady and her family, I'll go deeper. So I texted her a greeting and I was delightfully surprised and blessed at her heartfelt replies (my text is contained in the green bubble)She continues to receive the peace I bring; I pray these little exchanges will draw her closer to the King. The godly wisdom of Luke 10 suggests persons of peace like her are the kind of neighbors I should focus on. In my book chapter, I expand this dynamic of engaging others who believe very differently. 

With the peace we've received from God, you and I can be God's peace to people. Engaging with business owners is just one small way to pass the peace. The "you're not alone" picture is something my family pasted on our window. So whether home or running essential errands, this is the mantra we carry with us. 

But that's just half of it. Western Christians tend to forget that the Good News is ALSO receiving peace from others, perhaps because receiving is more vulnerable.  Walking home just now, a neighbor yelled out for me. She wanted to pass on some persimmon bread to my family. We've received different baked goods from different neighbors as of late. If you've read past letters, you'll know we've received much more than bread from non-Christian neighbors, especially during trials.  (Who says San Francisco neighbors don't know each other!)  I'm reminded of this:  The Good News is also embodied in the social dynamic of reciprocity. Having lived locally in Asia, this was the way over there. But reciprocity is not just Asian, and not just for Christmas. It's part of the Good News. 

This Christmas, may we both give and receive the peace of Jesus, Immanuel! If you'd like to receive the book, please let me know. Also, if you'd like to give a tax-deductible gift, know that God is providing for our shortfall through you. He is ultimately the provider. Go to this link for all investments into our mission. 

Peace be with you this Christmas, 

Copyright © 2020 Steve Hong/Kingdom Rice, All rights reserved.

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