“And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are my no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
First, let me begin by introducing myself and then I will get to Christmas.
My name is Rev. Tim Avazian and I am the new Interim Pastor at Magnolia Presbyterian Church. I am excited to be a part of this church community and to be your pastor during the time that the search takes place for a new Head of Staff.
Here is a little bit about my life:
- For the first 2 ½ years of my life I lived in Kingsburg, CA, a small farming community south of Fresno where my father had been the pastor of the Presbyterian church in town. Even though it was only for a short time, because of yearly trips back to Kingsburg to visit friends with my family, I have felt a connection to the town. I also liked to say that it was the town where Rafer Johnson was from (he was the famous UCLA track star who competed in the decathlon and won a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome).
- I grew up in Los Angeles, CA where my father, Rev. Dr. Paul Avazian, continued serving as a pastor, eventually being the founding pastor of the United Armenian Congregational Church of Hollywood. This was the church that helped nurture my life as a Christian. It was while I was at Forest Home Christian Conference Center’s summer camp as an 8th grader with the church’s youth group, that I made my commitment to Jesus Christ. This was also where I came to love church. The large extended church family helped to inform part of my philosophy of ministry that the church needs to be a family – caring, nurturing, instructing and loving God’s people. I graduated from Fairfax High School which was directly across the street from a bank that my mom, Grace, worked at. So everyday, I would ride my bike to school and then after baseball practice, walk my bike over to the bank, and drive the car home. I am the oldest of three, a brother Tom and a sister Terrell.
- I attended Azusa Pacific University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. I went to APU so I could play baseball and major in Business but because of a variety of reason, I retired from baseball after my freshman year. I loved my years at APU where I made life-long friendships and was involved in ministry and leadership while attending there.
- Graduated school was at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena where I received my Master of Divinity degree. While attending Fuller I worked in various ministries: Campus Life Director, part-time youth ministries directors, Junior High Summer Camp Lead Counselor at Forest Home, and Director of Jr. High Ministries at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, CA.
- I am married to Karyn, who is a clinical psychologist and works part-time in private practice in North County San Diego. We have been married for 29 years and we have 4 children, our son Aaron (21 years old, a senior at UC Davis), twin daughters Lizzy and Emily (19 years old, Lizzy is a sophomore at Chapman University; Emily is a sophomore at UC San Diego) and Lauren (16 years old, a junior at Woodbridge High School in Irvine). Our family lives in Irvine where we have two rescue dogs, Sophie (a Flat Coat Retriever) and Zoey (a Terrier/Poodle/Maltese mix).
- I have served as an ordained pastor at the United Armenian Congregational Church (Associate Pastor of Christian Education for 5 years), Irvine Presbyterian Church (Associate Pastor of Adult Ministries for 16 years) and Christ Presbyterian Church of Rancho La Costa (Interim Pastor for 1 year).
- For fun, I do love being with my family, reading (sports biographies, historical fiction and Christian spirituality are my favorites), running, walking with Karyn, watching my favorite sports teams play (LA Dodgers, LA Lakers and UCLA athletic teams are who I cheer loudest for). I also love rooting for my daughter Lauren at her softball games. I enjoy having a good cup of coffee (along with a good chocolate donut), eating pizza, breakfast burritos or good burger and fries. I don’t mind cooking at home but I wouldn’t say that I am a cook! I do enjoy eating whatever I cook. Some quick facts about me are that I played baseball in high school and college (I played shortstop and second base), I ran in the San Francisco Marathon, I love the Eastern Sierras of California and try to vacation in the summer with my family in Mammoth Lakes.
So what about Christmas and waiting? Let me say this, I am not a person who does well with waiting, especially when it comes to Christmas. When I was a child, I was the kind of kid who would love to pass out all the presents under the tree and then start opening presents as quickly as possible. I got impatient and wanted to know what were all the surprise, what people had gotten me or what was the secret that mom and dad were keeping from me. It was fun but a bit chaotic.
I have gotten better at waiting as I have gotten older. In fact, our family tradition at Christmas is to make sure all the presents are passed out and then, starting with the youngest person in the room, opening one present at a time and then the next oldest gets to open their present and so on, until everyone has opened their first present. Then the second round starts. The thing that is good about this is that everyone gets to enjoy others opening their presents, to see the surprise of what others have received and to see them begin to enjoy their gifts.
The Hebrew people of 1st Century Palestine were a people who were waiting. They were waiting, in fact they had been waiting for hundreds of years, for a savior, a messiah, who would free them from the bondage of Roman rule, who would guide them like a shepherd would his sheep and who would rule them as a Godly king, like the great King David. The prophets had foretold that this Godly king would come to them from Bethlehem, the very place where Jesus had been born!
But in the midst of all of their waiting and hope for this Kingly Messiah, they missed that Jesus was this King. They impatiently were waiting for a physical or political king who would offer them freedom and a new kingdom but missed that Jesus was offering a far greater kingdom and a greater rule over their lives. Through His life and through His teachings Jesus offered a kingdom that freed them from the bondages of this world and offered them the freedom of God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom was available to them now if they would only hear and receive Jesus’ message. Sadly, Jesus’ message wasn’t heard or received by many.
This Christmas may you hear Jesus’ message of His kingdom. It can offer you freedom from the hurts of today and hope for a future eternity in God’s Kingdom.