When working in prison ministry with Chuck Colson, I’d often tell people that “to see the light of Jesus Christ shine the brightest, you need to meet people in their darkest places.” It was a way to encourage and remind ministry leaders that radical transformations and hope in Jesus can be found in prisons, hospital wards, foster care facilities, addiction recovery clinics and families living in poverty – if we take the time to visit and walk alongside them. I am a living testimony to this.

But this year has been something different altogether. The darkness and brokenness of this world have surrounded us, leaving many wondering whether light or hope will ever break through again.  With the pandemic of COVID, we have even been forced to consider the air we breathe. Is it safe? Do I care if it is safe? Is it selfish for me, even if I am healthy, not to put the safety of others atop my priority list?

We wrestle with the challenges of the day at a personal level. We come together as a family to make decisions. We use our political freedom to speak into the system created of, by and for the citizenry with our grievances and hope that we might be governed in a manner that honors God, cherishes life, protects families and advances our religious liberty.

And some might even raise a question to the Father in our prayers, “Is this as bad as it can get?” or “I trust you, Father, but what is your solution and when will it come?”

What is the solution after all? Is it the vaccines? Is it when the stock market hits a new high or the unemployment rates go down? Maybe it is when the restaurants open again. We aren’t even sure when our elections are over or how fair they have been.

Many of us have had COVID (myself included) and not suffered, only to see others we know become overwhelmed and die with stunning speed and complete devastation of their bodies.

Darkness everywhere.

Part of all the uncertainty comes from the nature of the virus itself. The COVID-19 strain of the commonly transmitted coronavirus class of disease is novel. That is what makes it different and so uncertain. Novel means “new.”

But is what we are experiencing on earth this year new? Scripture and historical texts have an easy answer: No. We have had pandemics and diseases that have devastated life individually, through families and communities, and even globally. We have had economic crashes and recessions. We have endured uncertainty in our gainful work, whether it be in hunting for food or receiving a paycheck to support our families.

James 1:12 tells us, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

2020 has certainly given many of us reason to remember that life on this fallen planet can indeed be a test. But God loved us so much He gave us the answer key to this test in the birth of His Son, our Lord, Jesus.

He gave us “Immanuel,” God with us, born to a virgin in the most humbling of circumstances. He gave us the answer, the solution and even the cure to everything that we might face here on earth. Jesus was the answer then as He was from the beginning and will be at the end – whether we live to see that end or are called up early.

He gave us Living Water when we cried out for earthly water to quench our immediate human thirst.

And He gave us the Light of the World when all hope seemed lost and the world darkest.

In other words, He gave us Christmas. Immanuel. Jesus. The Christ coming to live among us. Born to be “for us” even when we lived against God. Our solution then, now and always.

2020 will be a special Christmas for me and my family, and I pray it will be for you and yours too. This is because the light of Jesus is shining so brightly against the darkness in our culture today. This is what we see, and I pray you see it too.

And we at Family Policy Alliance have been so blessed this year to see His light shining through you. Your work and support to advance the mission we share produced fruit that cannot be explained with human measuring sticks like money, staff size or advertising campaigns. This year we gained a lot of ground in protecting the lives of babies in the womb in many states. Together, we advanced our religious freedom, families and honored God throughout our efforts.

Things didn’t work out the way we wanted though. Not everywhere. There is so much left to do, and the odds seem so daunting to many of us if you pause to look at them. But we march forward together because we have Immanuel. God with us. In His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

On December 25, 2020 we will celebrate the gift of Jesus and we will keep him our focus as we move into 2021. God is with us. Praise His holy name!

Merry Christmas—the Light has come!


Craig DeRoche
President and CEO

Your nation is conquered and in shambles. An evil ruler – one willing to murder innocent children – is placed over you. Those in authority don’t care about you, they only care about preserving power.

You’re taxed too much and your government isn’t representative… And, God’s response is to send a baby to be born into a poor family.

That was God’s response to the plight of the Jewish people. It was a plan that didn’t make sense on the surface. It wasn’t the plan they were thinking of, hoping for, or wanting. Yet, it was a perfect plan – one that revealed much about who God is, how He operates, and how emphatically He loves His people.

Christmas is a reminder of many things. It points us to hope, to joy, toward thanksgiving and grace, and it points us to the great love of Christ. It also serves as a reminder that God is always faithful. In good times and in bad, and even when it seems He’s not at work.

This day is a reminder that God never abandons us, and, even when we cannot see it, His active plan is better than any we could have ever imagined or authored ourselves.

On this Christmas Day, I want to wish you and your family a very Merry and Blessed Christmas. I don’t know what kind of 2020 you’ve had, but I think it’s pretty safe to guess that it’s not the one you anticipated. My prayer is that you’re reminded that God’s control is never lost and His plan is never thwarted.

I wish you and your family a great time of celebration and joy. May you find rest in the Almighty Savior who holds you and loves you.

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas,

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

 

“So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”  (Luk 2:15-18)

Years ago, Christian philosopher Richard John Neuhas described the calling of believers as a duty to “tell the world its own story.” That calling becomes very clear during the Christmas season. After listening to “Jingle Bell Rock” and “All I want for Christmas is You” for the 40th time in a check-out line, my heart saddens at the fact that the majority of people seem completely unaware of the real reason for the season.

2020 has revealed the desperate need for Christians to “tell the world its own story.” That story is one of God radiating hope in the midst of humanity’s failures. Contrast for a moment the banality of “Santa Baby” with “O Holy Night.” One appeals to the silly at best and the other calls the listener to the glorious night when Heaven touched Earth.

Compare “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” with its “sentimental feelings” against the deep and genuine awe of “Angels we have Heard on High.” We see one with the promise of shallow sentimentalism and the other with the joy and reverence that can sustain a soul through difficulty.

Our world and our nation desperately need to hear the message of its own true story. The challenge for us as believers in Christ is to be well versed in the truth of our story so we can share it with the world.

That is why Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming® works so hard to help you stand for Life, Religious Freedom and Family Values. We are here to equip you to stand for a state that will uphold those timeless principles.

Will you please consider making an end-of year donation to help us equip Wyoming in the coming year?

Merry Christmas and God bless!

Nathan Winters
Executive Director

The Advent season is all about hope and anticipation. But quite honestly, many of us feel quite tentative about anticipating anything in a year like 2020. So many plans have been rearranged or outright cancelled.

Yet if a season ever fit the moment, it is the Advent season in the year 2020. A people hoping for God’s personal presence while they lived in the midst of chaos is the very situation into which Christ was born.

From a big picture perspective, the Israelites had been waiting for thousands of years for the Messiah. The prophets constantly reminded them that He was coming, but then God appeared to go silent. Silence for 400 years — that would make anyone a little cynical!

In the Christmas story, we see individuals facing disappointed hopes as well – particularly reflected in the stories of Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Anna. Elizabeth & Zechariah who waited for a child year after year. Anna who waited alone in the Temple for the Messiah for decades.

And after all this waiting, they each got to be a part of preparing our world for the Lord to walk among us.

The promise the angel gave to Zechariah about their long-awaited child has beautiful meaning to me this year:

“And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.””  (Luke 1:16-17)

In their waiting, in their disappointment, the Lord was working. He was preparing them for their Messiah – the Redeemer of the World.

God has used COVID-19 to remind us of the important things in life: family, life, religious freedom. These can be taken for granted at times – but think about each of those words and what they represent. We have come to know their value now far more than ever before.

My prayer as we begin this Advent season is that we will continue to anticipate God’s coming goodness even when it doesn’t feel like it will ever happen. And that as a result we will see His goodness all around us. It has been a year unlike any other and our hearts are weary. May we hang on to the hand that is holding us and press into what the Lord has for us in the coming days.

May your heart be filled with expectation for our coming King,

Nathan Winters
Executive Director

This week is the first week of the Advent season. Quite honestly, anticipating anything in a year like 2020 feels a little cruel. So many plans have been rearranged or outright cancelled. Just like many of you, I’ve felt this personally and professionally this year.

But the Advent season is all about hope and anticipation, even when it doesn’t make sense.

From a big picture perspective, it’s a reflection of the Israelites long wait for the Messiah. The Israelites had been waiting for thousands of years for the Messiah. The prophets constantly reminded them that He was coming, but then God appeared to go silent. Silence for 400 years. That would make anyone a little cynical.

In the Christmas story, we see individuals facing disappointed hopes as well – particularly reflected in the stories of Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Anna. Elizabeth & Zechariah who waited for a child year after year. Anna who waited alone in the Temple for the Messiah for decades.

And after all this waiting, they each got to be a part of preparing our world for the Lord to walk among us.

The promise the angel gave to Zechariah about their long-awaited child in Luke 1:16-17 has beautiful meaning to me this year:

“He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

In their waiting, in their disappointment the Lord was working. He was preparing them for their Messiah – the Redeemer of the World.

For our organization, we dealt with a big disappointment when COVID-19 ended both the legislative session and any hope of getting the last four hold-out legislators to vote for the pro-life Value Them Both Amendment. It didn’t make a ton of sense why God would let four individuals block a bill that is needed to protect moms and babies. But after the primary and general elections, I can see that He was preparing us to be in an even better position for the 2021 legislative session. And that is just a small piece of what He is doing.

My prayer as we begin this Advent season is that we will continue to anticipate God’s coming goodness even when it doesn’t feel like it will ever happen. And that as a result we will see His goodness all around us. It has been a year unlike any other and our hearts are weary. May we hang on to the hand that is holding us and press into what the Lord has for us in the coming days.

May your heart be filled with expectation for our coming King,

Brittany Jones
Director of Advocacy

“God of wonder, God of light
God is with us here tonight
Holy Savior in this manger
Come to set the world to right”
-Phil Wickham, Star of Wonder

I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year, but I’ve rarely longed for it more than now. The events of 2020 have exposed how desperately our state and nation needs the message of Christmas. It’s a message of peace and hope because of the coming of Jesus.

Isn’t that what we all want? We want all things to be made new and for all the hurt and devastation we see in the world to make sense and for things to be made right.

When we live in a world of such chaos and so many hurting people, peace is hard to imagine or understand. I work on issues every day that boggle the imagination… Troubled teens who feel like they don’t fit anywhere. Parents who are struggling to connect with their kids and doing the best they can. Hurting, desperate women who don’t know where else to turn except to an abortionist. Doctors, other medical professionals, and educators who just want to help people but are stuck in the back-and-forth tug of the culture wars.

Yet peace is the promise that the child in the manger brings. He proclaims that one day and even now, He is bringing restoration to our relationship with God and with those around us. By overcoming sin – the thing that breaks our peace with God and others, and which we in ourselves don’t have power over – He is bringing all things to peace.

And the paradox of all of this is that He gives peace amidst the chaos as I continue to live in the middle of it all. The peace that He brings doesn’t look like the world thinks it should. Instead, it looks like living in accordance with the design of our Creator and living from a place where we know to whom we belong. From that place we can truly love God and our neighbor well.

From the world’s perspective, engaging the culture and doing the work of Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming® definitely doesn’t look like peace. But neither did Christ’s birth in a manger or death on a cross – yet through those sufferings He brought peace.

No doubt, you will hear from many worthy organizations seeking support over the next several weeks. However, I want you to know that your support of us has provided the movement MAJOR momentum politically, empowered godly leaders, and strengthened the body of Christ in its mission to advance His truth. It’s been powerful to witness!

To build on this great work in 2021, I’m asking that you join us by contributing generously to our $20,000 Challenge Fund today .

This time next year, I look forward to writing about even more elections, policy, and “biblical citizenship” successes. You’ve helped us grow dramatically over the last 12 months, and I’m looking forward to building on the momentum you’ve helped us establish.

Merry Christmas,

Nathan Winters
Executive Director

Bring Crosby’s “Merrie Old Christmas” aired on November 30, 1977 in the United States and December 24th in the United Kingdom, shortly after Bing Crosby died at the age of 74.

A song written specially for that production was performed as Mr. Crosby sang with David Bowie, “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.”

As Crosby sings the classic Christmas tune “The Little Drummer Boy” with its marching cadence, a haunting lyric is sung by David Bowie asking, “Peace on Earth, Can it be?”

Therein lies a paradox, can peace be found as the drums of war sound?

Christmas has become the focus of many a paradox as the years go on. In the birth of a child to a young couple long ago, many find reason to run over their neighbor at the local mall. In the gift of God’s Son to humanity, humanity gives itself the excuse to revel in things that distract from the purpose of the celebration.

The Christmas Season becomes a concentrated picture of the state of mankind. Focused on ourselves, we forget the eternal story of a gracious God, answering the greatest need in the history of humanity. God’s love is often spurned in pursuit of things that, in the end, destroy the very peace we are so desperate for. In pursuit of pleasure we sacrifice the peace of soul we desire at the deepest level.

My sincerest hope is that you may see a peace, established “before the foundation of the world,” flood your soul and cause you to “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!”

Can you imagine a nation filled with people at peace with God? A nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished? That is what drives me to place my life into starting the Family Policy Alliance here in Wyoming.

I was reminded of a statement C.S. Lewis wrote as I listened to Mr. Bowie sing of “seeing a day when men of good will live in peace again.” C.S. Lewis once wrote, “The real peacemaker is he who promotes peace, not he who gasses about it.”

Let us prove ourselves by our actions and stand for the truth that promotes eternal peace.

Merry Christmas,

Nathan Winters
Director of Advocacy – Wyoming

 

One of the great word associations with Christmas is “hope.”

There is something special about the season – with more time with family, the conclusion of a year, and the reflection on God’s greatest gift – that lends itself to a hopeful feeling that builds on the celebration of hope personified.

Yet, as we know from Scripture, the coming of Christ was not the origination of hope. Instead, hope was provided the moment humanity fell. The Lord provided a promise of redemption right there in Genesis 3:15. Upon the very instant hope was needed, hope was provided in the form of a promise from a God who never lies and whose power to deliver is beyond understanding.

But, sometimes doubt is easy, isn’t it? It certainly was easy for those in the time of Christ who had so allowed doubt to take root that they ultimately killed the Savior they’d hoped for. And, it’s easy to allow doubt to creep in to the point where you miss the glimmers of hope the Lord provides in the midst of a wave of easily found negativity when you turn on the news.

Hope is never absent, though, and that’s by design. Hope is to be a defining trait of the believer even when it’s difficult and unnatural. Because the Lord didn’t wait to give hope, He hates for us to wait to cling to it. It’s there. Always present. And, even when it’s hard to see, it remains a great gift available to us.

This year has, thankfully, been one where hope has been easier to see. We have, especially here in Georgia, been blessed with godly leadership. Our state helped light a flame that spread across the nation for life – marking what is the most hopeful year ever in our efforts to save life. We have momentum on every front, and we are seeing the results from our labors.

We have been blessed to see hope more clearly this year, but, no matter what happens in 2020, it will be present in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. May hope be at the root of every decision, discussion, victory, and defeat. May we never lose sight of the great gift of hope.

I want to thank you for the hope you have given me, for the hopefulness you show in your own walk, and for the hope you have helped bring to your state. May that light of hope be with you in bountiful ways this Christmas and may it remain visible for all the world to see.

Wishing you and your family a Blessed and Merry Christmas! So much to celebrate and what a great God we serve!

Merry Christmas!

Cole Muzio
President and Executive Director

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2:8-11

The Christmas story is full of limitless intrigue, as the mystery of the incarnation is hard to fathom. The anointed one promised by the Father and prophesied by ancient Hebrew seers invaded the earth silently under the radar. His grand arrival was highly secretive. This innocent child, born without sin, would soon conquer the worst of evil and decimate the schemes of the evil one. Fallen humanity would experience great joy. Peace between God and man was now made possible by the Savior.

The realities of the shepherds in the field is often overlooked by Hallmark cards and traditional carols. These Jewish men were living in an oppressive and heartless Roman world. Violence was celebrated through the gods and gladiators and unbridled sensuality was public throughout the empire. The regions of Judea and Samaria had a different vibe, the people dwelling there were desperate for hope! They longed for political salvation, of which there would be none. Pax Romana would reign for centuries more.

Yet, amid darkness and bad news, came a bright light proclaiming good news. A messenger announcing that God was working behind the scenes. His sovereignty was never absent and His will was never obstructed.

Today, I firmly believe God is working in unseen ways to give us victory in New Jersey and making known his salvation to those who remain blind to His truth. Hope is the steadfast confidence that the best is yet to come. I believe it!

Let us rejoice this Christmas season in the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. A Savior has come not to condemn us, but to save us from our sins. I pray your Christmas holiday is full of joy, memorable moments and peaceful family relationships.

Merry Christmas!

Shawn Hyland
Director of Advocacy

 


Len Deo
Director of Alliances Northeast Region, Family Policy Alliance
Founder & Past President, New Jersey Family Policy Council

Ok be honest, you love to sing don’t you…maybe not in public, but I bet when you are alone in the car you belt out some Three Dog Night, or maybe “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. It’s ok, we all do it, we humans love to sing – some good, some not so good! But since the beginning of recorded history, we see people that would raise their voice in song.

We sing about love, loss, what makes us happy or sad. We sing about our hopes and dreams and what makes us laugh. I believe there is also a longing in each of us to sing to our creator. Psalms 95:2 reads “let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to him with Psalms.”

Whether you like Christmas songs or not, the Christmas season creates many opportunities for singing. “Joy to the World,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” are perennial favorites.

One of my fondest memories of Christmas growing up was the Christmas Eve service we attended each year at church. We would all gather together as a congregation, hear a few words from our pastor, then we would sing songs about Christ’s birth and our salvation. I remember the final song every year because it was my favorite, Silent Night. We would dim the auditorium lights, then one by one we would light the candles we were all holding. As a kid I loved the flickering lights and the soft glow of the room. Even then I could feel there was something holy about voices lifted up in praise to God, it has always felt like a perfect expression of Love to our creator.

We all live very busy lives and often we can get distracted with all that is happening around us. Regardless of your circumstance this Christmas season, remember we have so much to be Joyful about. A willing Savior was born to rescue us from ourselves because there was simply no other way. He was willing to endure physical torture, even willing to die. But ultimately, he rose again and was willing to ascend to be our constant advocate before God the father.

During this season of celebration, take time to show God your complete love and devotion through time with him. Make a joyful noise to our creator…even if you’re alone in your car.

Merry Christmas,

Jeff Bennett
Executive Director