December 20, 2018

Good Morning Congregation,

 Here we are, December 20, 2018. It seems like yesterday I was making sure I had things ready for Christmas 2017. Time flies by. There is so much to do, and time seems to rush by. What are your Christmas traditions? Meals with family, opening gifts, special foods, church, going for a run, or a hike, or…. We have several traditions at our house. On Christmas Eve we go to church, read the Christmas story, we have dinner together with seafood, including oyster soup, and then open gifts. Those who can stay in bed and sleep in on Christmas Day. Things can vary a bit each year, but a couple of things are always constant, church and dinner.

 It seems that this time of year, right before Christmas, people are rushing here and there trying to make sure that everything is perfect. Now, let’s think about that first Christmas. Who travels by donkey in their last trimester of pregnancy? Who spends the night in a room with animals, probably a cave in that time, when they are so near to delivery? Who wraps their new born baby and puts them in a manger? We could talk about smells and sounds for a while, but the cool thing is in the midst of a busy time, Jesus was born. The town was full of people who were being made to register and pay whatever tax they had to pay.  Really just like today, people were probably rushing here and there. The town was full of relatives because each person went to the town of their ancestry. I’m sure that it was just like today, some of them you wanted to spend time with and some… well, you maybe don’t even know them very well. They are the descendants of great Uncle Scrooge, and you haven’t talked with them in forever, or they never come around, so why now?

 Our call is to make sure that we remember the Peace, Joy and Love that Christ came to bring. I often think of the words of the angels that glorious night, “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.” The awesome message to the shepherds several thousand years ago, is the same message for us today. It’s good news, that a Savior has been born to us, he is the Messiah. He came to save us from our sins, from ourselves. He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and guide us and lead us, and comfort us and convict us, and speak on our behalf when we don’t know what to say. Wow! ‘Tis the time of year that we do remember. And, one day he will return and take us to be with him. Amazing!

 For those of you who are missing loved ones this year, I want you to know our prayers are with you. It is always a challenge for those of us who have lost loved ones. But God is the one who brings peace, love and joy!

 This past Sunday Pastor Brad talked about what it means for us to live life For God. And again, like all the other postures, there are parts that are good, but when this is the focus, we miss God. As Pastor Brad shared, in this posture, we make the mission more important than the Master. In each of these postures, we take what could be good parts and we put them before God, and in that act, we miss him.

 This week we will be talking about what it means to live life With God. Basking in his presence, wanting to be with him, wanting to spend time with him. God doesn’t just want to be part of our lives, he wants to be the center of our lives. You can again read Luke 10 in preparation.

 I pray that you do enjoy this Christmas season. But remember that it doesn’t stop as soon as Christmas is over. The message of a Savior that has been born to us, is needed each day of every year. If we don’t take time to be with him, we won’t know him. But as Jesus says to us, “if you know me, you know my father as well.”

 Merry Christmas! Pastor Glenn

North Clinton Church