the ghosts of christmas past

sunday teaching series

Christmas is the season where everything is magnified. This time of year makes good things even better but painful things are often even more painful. The hurts we carry get amplified, the insecurities are magnified, our loss can feel overwhelming and guilt and shame are intensified. These, and other emotions, feel like ghosts that haunt us. 

We invite you to join us at 10am each Sunday of Christmas as we explore how to unshackle from the ghosts that haunt us in the name of Jesus. 

  • The power to forgive isn't found in our own strength but in recognizing how much we've been forgiven of. Why live shackled to offense? Let's learn to rise above them and turn them over to the God who's capable of carrying the cross. 

  • What we've done doesn't have to define us. Let's learn to identify ourselves by Christ and find true freedom from poor choices...ours and others. 

  • Those poor choices often wrap us in labels. It's time to put on a new name and be wrapped in a new label. 

  • Christmas time often hurts because of who is not with us anymore. We need to learn to mourn well; not to dismiss or ignore the pain we feel but also not to let it swallow us. 

All are welcome to join us December 21st for our Longest Night Service. Some call this a "Blue Christmas" service or an "Empty Chair" service. This is a service for everyone, but especially for those grieving or feeling overwhelmed by darkness (hence, the longest night of the year). We will reflect on grief and usher in hope. 

7pm | December 21 | Restoration sanctuary  

christmas eve

We invite you to join us for one (or more) of our Christmas Eve services. 

10am & 11:30am | Interactive Family Service

This is a fun telling of the Christmas story including interactive elements, surprises and a grand "Happy Birthday Jesus!" ALL are welcome to join us! Gather your friends and family, come in your PJ's and if you're able, bring a non-perishable food item or a toiletry item for our needs-shelves. The kids will have an opportunity to place them in the manger!

7pm & 11pm | Candle Lighting Service

This is a beautiful service full of singing, learning and reflection. We'll close our time together by circling up and passing the Christ-light as we sing carols of God's faithfulness and goodness while holding our candles. 

the hunt is over

the cane has been found

Congratulations Shana Hastings for finding the 2023 Golden Candy Cane! 

It was hiding behind the Farmer's Insurance Billboard on Lincoln Highway near the municipal building! 

See below for the explanation of the clues!

Golden candy cane: 

frequently asked questions

  • The hunt officially begins on December 10. Clues can be found below. The hunt will end when the candy cane is found.

  • The entire community! The only person who knows its whereabouts is Pastor Ross and Emily so they are the only ones excluded from finding it (but their kids are not). 

  • The candy cane is 8 inches long. Originally it held M&Ms :) It's wrapped in gold duct tape. 

  • Cut it open and follow the instructions inside.

  • The hunting zone is roughly as follows: HWY 1 to the North, the Delaware River to the East and South, 295 to the West.

  • We are a church IN our community, FOR our community. We love providing fun, family friendly activities to help our community thrive. We (obviously) believe in the work, the hope, the life and the community of Restoration Church so we want as many people to know who we are and what we're about. This is one way to introduce our community to Restoration in a fun way. 

  • Yes. Anyone can access it without trespassing.

  • Places that are publicly accessible :) 

  • As many as are needed. Previous hunts have seen anywhere between 6 and 15 clues be released. 

  • Every couple of days though we release more when people "play along" on social media by helping us share and interact with us. 

  • $500

  • You can do whatever you want but he (and Emily) is sworn to secrecy. But he would love to get to know you so introduce yourself if you see him :) 

  • No. 

  • Well, it's a check. The check will take 7-10 days to process but it will be mailed to the winner :) 

  • Okay. Somewhere in our community there is a tape covered, plastic candy cane. Starting on December 10, clues will start showing up below. Every couple days another clue will appear. Each clue will describe the cane's location in a mysterious way that will demand your deciphering skills. Put the clues together and they'll lead you to the candy cane. If you find it, cut it open and follow the instructions inside to claim your prize!

clue #1


If the monarch were from Pennsylvania, he may be too short.

But if he were from the west coast, he’d grab it with ease.

A "monarch" is a ruler or king. A king from the west coast, or California, would be a "California King" which is 84 inches long, the same height the cane was off the ground.

clue #2

Do you remember the story of the tree that gave his life away to the ungrateful little boy? 

Find the book’s brother, a collection of poems and drawings. 

And take your cue from there.

shell Silverstien wrote both The Giving Tree (referenced above) and "Where the Sidewalk Ends." A sidewalk came to an end right at the billboard. 

clue #3

Fences (sometimes)

Telephone poles (mainly)

Crosses (originally)

Paper (chiefly)

Tables (often)

Guitars (mostly)

Pencils (usually)

These are all things made of wood, which the billboards are, exclusively (minus bolts, etc.). The being "made of wood" was important, it wasn't among trees.  

clue #4

The 7th line of the classic Irish funeral folk song about separation, farewells, loss, longing, and eventually peace speaks to the cane's whereabouts.  

O Danny Boy is the song in reference. "Light and shadows" were the important part. There are lights shining on the billboard throughout the night. So it was illuminated during the daylight but in the shadows at night.

clue #5

There's something wrong with the world today.
I don't know what it is?
Something's wrong with our eyes.
We're seeing things in a different way.
And God knows it isn’t his.

Who really is surprised?

This is the first verse to Aerosmith's "Living on the edge." The cane was on the edge of the search boundaries.



clue #6

Pebbles was a happy little elf working at 54 Candy Cane Lane, the toy shop in Santa’s village in the North Pole. He made toys for a living, and he loved his job. His favorite toy was a model of a 57 Chevy Camaro with Blue body paint and silver trim. Pebbles kept the first one ever built on a shelf at his workstation to remind him of the joy it brought him and the little children of the world.


Pebbles was a responsible elf, always cleaning his workstation and diligent to put everything away, exactly where it belonged. So, when Pebbles arrived at the toyshop on the morning of December 7th and noticed his station was in disarray, he began to worry. His tools were misplaced, his toy-parts were scattered, and his instructions shuffled on the floor.


As he analyzed the situation, he noticed something was missing!


His Chevy Camaro was gone! As he investigated the crime scene, he noticed 55 candy wrappers along a path of 47 powdered sugar footprints. Following them, he arrived at Skittle’s workstation where 56 toddler elves were playing with his Camaro and 21 other toys, eating 67 Christmas  cookies, and laughing tremendously.


Though there was slight irritation, he couldn’t stay mad for long.


Afterall, his job was to bring joy to children.   

The only zip code on referenced in the search boundary is 19030, that was the zip code "missing."  

clue #7

How's the hunt going?

Every hunter is ambitious. 

Although not everyone is on the right track.

Don't give up, after all...

Every candy cane is unique. 

Although...they're really all the same.

Some are wrapped in different tape, I guess.

Though the brand is always the same.

The first letters of each line spell HEAD EAST. Though there was land further east in 19030, it was on the "east side" of the zip code.

clue #8 (helper for #6)

The key to unlocking this riddle is Pebble's exclamatory realization after seeing his work station.

clue #9

If you can’t crawl out of your simple under-dwellings, you may want to try some old-school exercise. If your familial accumulation seems small, you may need the sower’s safeguard.

This is a reference to the four billboards it was among. 

"Simple under-dwellings" was for "Basic Basement" remodels. 

"Old-school exercise" was for "Retro Fitness".

"Familial Accumulation" was for "Penn Community Bank."

"Sower's Safeguard" was for "Farmer's Insurance."