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The Vanishing Christmas Card

December 10, 2015

Greetings, Canaan EM members and friends!

7aaf40c4-ec1c-4a3f-9f1c-2dcc9843127bBetty and I used to mail Christmas cards to our friends and relatives. We’d include a lengthy family newsletter, too. But with the rise of social media, we’ve transitioned to sending digital greetings. Nevertheless, we really appreciate people who continue to put the effort into sending out cards. We especially like family photo cards because we can enjoy seeing children grow up and noticing how the parents are aging.

I love connecting with people. But I’m sad to confess that over the past few years, I’ve failed to even post digital Christmas greetings. It’s hard for me to keep up this particular discipline of connecting (I’ve just about stopped wishing happy birthday to my Facebook friends). My life has been very fulfilling, but super-saturated. So something had to be sacrificed. For us, it was the annual Christmas greeting card – both paper and digital. I feel bad about it, but to be fair, we have a huge friendship list. What we haven’t figured out is what to replace the disappearing Christmas card with.

Studies have shown that in recent years, more and more Christians have responded to their super-saturated lives by giving up regular Sunday worship. This continues a long trend of abandoning church meetings. In the 1950s, the Sunday evening worship service was largely given up; in the 1960s, the Wednesday evening prayer meetings nearly vanished; in the 1970s, the Sunday School hour drew fewer and fewer people. Small groups and house churches have plateaued. The more Americanized Asian immigrants become, the less engaged they are with their local church community.

Now not all of these practices are relevant for us. I wouldn’t want to restore Sunday evening worship (unless we had a large number of people who wanted it). But without high touch, all the high tech we have won’t do much to increase our love for one another. The author of Hebrews implied that meeting together is necessary to maintain our hope and to encourage one another:

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV)

I don’t have all the answers, but I invite you to help us think about what it means for Canaan’s English Ministry to be an unswervingly hopeful community that challenges one another towards love and good deeds. My sermon this Sunday will address this issue by looking more closely at what it means to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ!

1a693539-1f0d-45e7-8f75-d47b2ec3c928See you at church this Sunday!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries
Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church

Director (volunteer)
Healthy Church Leaders Initiative
Asian American Leadership Center


  1. Tonight, many of our Young Adults will be volunteering at Second Harvest food bank. Contact Ming Su if you have any questions.
  2. Thanks to everyone who will be helping Compassion Network’s annual Tree of Hope program this Sunday and Monday. This program provides Christmas presents to needy kids (13 & under) in Fremont, Union City & Newark. Contact Felicia Wu [email]
  3. Christmas Celebrations!
    • Young Adults on Thursday evening (Dec 17) contact Rachel Hung [email]
    • Everglow Youth on Friday evening (Dec 18) – followed by a lock-in. Contact Chris Liu [email]
  4. Christmas Musical and Party (Dec 20): We’ll have a special worship service to celebrate Christmas. This will be followed by a party during the second hour. Would you like to help out? Let Betty Tseng know [email].
  5. Opportunities to Serve in 2016: Please use and refer as many people as possible to our 2016 Canaan English Ministry Service Opportunities webpage:
  6. Canaan EM Mentor-Discipleship Program – coming soon! Frank Hsueh and Pastor Tim will launch a mentor-match and discipleship program in 2016. Contact Frank [email]
  7. Emerging Leaders Program of the Healthy Church Leaders Initiative is launching! This is a church leadership development ministry that Pastor Tim is leading (as a volunteer) to cultivate leaders who minister to Asian Americans in the Bay Area. Our first program is designed to mentor emerging leaders who are considering vocational ministry. We are looking for 10 participants in our first cohort group. Sign up by December 10th. Have a look at the website:
  8. Syrian Refugee Sunday (Jan. 10). Join our church as we learn about, pray for, and do something about the current crisis of refugees from Syria. We will be working with World Vision [website]
  9. Perspectives in World Christianity is offering classes in Mountain View, San Jose, and Livermore, beginning this Jan. 24th. Contact William Effendy for more information [email].

About Tim Tseng, Ph.D.

I am Pacific Area Director of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship's Graduate and Faculty Ministries. I'm also a historian, theological educator, and pastor.


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English Service 10 AM (Worship Hall 3)

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Enter through door 1 from rear parking lot.


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