“Our Reason for Great Joy”

“Our Reason for Great Joy”

Dear HLPC family,

For many of us 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in a long time.  We have faced COVID-19, lockdowns, racial tension, economic downturn, a contentious election followed by even more controversy that lingers today.  It has been a year we will long remember and has made us long for a return to “normalcy.”

Of course, life is rarely normal.  In fact, life is constant change.  Nothing stays the same.  The sentimental songs of the season call for nostalgic remembrance of Christmases past, but those Christmases can’t truly be recaptured.  Children grow up, loved ones depart, or relationships are disrupted.  Christmas can be hard. I found myself a bit melancholy this morning as the burdens that so many are facing right now came to mind. 

The one thing that doesn’t change is God’s gracious gift to us in Christ.  The “reason for the season” as we often put it is the celebration of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus. The Father sent His Son to be born so that He might live and then die for sinners only to be raised again on the third day.  May God drive deep into our hearts and minds what the “great joy” was that the angels announced on that Judean hillside over 2,000 years ago.

Tomorrow night we will celebrate the gift of Jesus at our annual Christmas Eve service.  We will be having two offerings of the service, one at 4:30PM and the other at 6PM.   If you can attend either, please consider the 6PM service as we are trying to maximize space in regards to COVID precautions.   We will have a special presentation of the birth narrative from Luke’s gospel and will finish the evening with candlelight singing of “Silent Night.”  We will not be having communion.  Also, please remember we will be collecting an offering for the PCA Retirement and Benefits Ministerial Relief. This fund supports the widows of PCA Pastors and missionaries.

One last word is that any gifts you would make to the church should be postmarked no later than December 31, 2020.  You can drop any gifts in the church mailbox which will be checked daily during the week after Christmas.

May the Lord bless and keep you this Christmas!

Your Pastor,


Paul Bankson

Paul was born and raised in Birmingham, AL and graduated from Auburn University in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration. It was at Auburn that he met his wife, Connie. They were married in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and moved to Jackson, MS where he attended Reformed Theological Seminary graduating with a Master of Divinity in 1991. Upon graduation, Paul served as a Campus Minister with RUF, the campus ministry of the PCA, at Tennessee-Martin where the Banksons lived for 5 years. They moved to Macon, GA in 1996 to work with RUF at Mercer University and then Paul joined the pastoral staff at First Presbyterian Church of Macon as an Assistant Pastor in 1999. In 2004, Paul and his family moved to Warner Robins where he served as a church planter and then organizing Pastor of Houston Lake Presbyterian Church. In December 2014 Paul completed a Doctor of Ministry degree through Reformed Theological Seminary of Orlando. Paul and Connie have three sons, Andrew (23), Stephen (20), and Matthew (15). Paul enjoys grilling, camping with his family, and Auburn sports (War Eagle!).