Heaven came down. If you have been attending Rock Church online or in person over the last couple of weeks, you have probably heard this phrase once or twice. Heaven Came Down is the title of our current Christmas teaching series, and I’m not sure there is a better way to describe the miracle of Christmas – or what happened this past week at Toys for Joy - than these three simple words: Heaven came down.
What I mean is this: When Jesus entered the world in the form of a Jewish infant over 2,000 years ago, he changed everything. The King of the Universe became human, and when he did, he brought the good news of the kingdom of heaven with him.
He told us that heaven is not a far off, distant place. Instead, the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 4:17). Even as we anticipate the second coming of Jesus and the complete redemption of the world, we don’t have to wait to participate in the kingdom of heaven. We can do so right now.
We can pray “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” and we can also live out that prayer in our day-to-day lives (Matthew 6:10).
This past weekend at Toys for Joy, we saw a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven in San Diego. Over 11,148 toys were given out, along with 105,000 pounds of groceries, 5,389 meals, 20,115 items of clothing, 250 haircuts, and 355 manicures. But these aren’t just numbers for us. These numbers represent families who were able to encounter the tangible love of Jesus through practical expressions of care and compassion.
Even though we continued Toys for Joy throughout the pandemic with a drive-thru style distribution, it was so good to be back to hosting families for a day full of fun! I was so grateful as I looked around and saw the smiling faces of children and parents who were receiving the kindness of God through His church.
Of the 5,550 people who attended, 1,109 people responded to the gospel! That is 1,109 people whose lives will never be the same. They have encountered true, long-lasting joy. This joy isn’t like a Christmas tree bulb. It isn’t shiny and pretty to look at but ultimately hollow and easily broken. No, true joy is robust and eternal. It is based on the everlasting love of Jesus, and it will never be taken from us. I want to thank the countless volunteers and sponsors who invested into Toys for Joy with their time, talents, and treasures. As you go throughout your week, please take some time to pray for the people who gave their lives to Jesus!
Volunteers spent a collective 11,252 hours to make this happen, and thousands upon thousands of dollars were donated. You will never know the full impact of your sacrifice on this side of eternity, but I’ll tell you what: San Diego looks more like heaven after this weekend, and that is easy to see!
God bless, and thank you for doing something to bless your community!
- Pastor Miles