Dear Friends -
Ah, Christmas. Dashing through the snow, rushing home with treasures, roasting chestnuts on an open fire and dreaming of snow, or Santa, or gramma and grandpa’s visit.
When I was growing up we listened to a Bing Crosby album (LP, Hi Fi vinyl) every Christmas. I remember those songs very well. My sister bought me a CD of the same album a few years ago. Now I try to get my grandkids to listen. They are more interested in how the Grinch stole Christmas, than how Bing sang it. But those songs shaped my thoughts of Christmas even though Milford, Indiana had no stoplight to blink a bright red and green, and only three stores from which to rush home: a 5¢ and dime, a drug-store, and a dry-goods store. Mom and dad did most of their Christmas shopping from the Sears and Wards Catalogs. Even the names are archaic.
I hope you have fond memories of Christmas past. I hope you are forming new memories with each new year. Whether it is music, light up night, or buying gifts from the Mall Christmas tree for a family in need.
And we should remember. Wonder, and joy should abound. Excitement should be everywhere. We are celebrating the birth of the King!
We know the story so very well. The angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, even though she was a virgin when she conceived. God spoke to Joseph in a dream, assuring him that Mary’s pregnancy was of the Holy Spirit. This baby would be a boy. His name would be Jesus, which means Savior. And he would be called God with Us.
What miracles! God is doing something he never did before. He stepped into our world, not just to do something, but to be someone ... with us.
While Mary was expecting, Joseph had to move his family from Nazareth to Bethlehem. There the time of Jesus’ birth arrived though his parents were living on the street. He was born, swaddled, and his first bed was a cow’s feeding trough.
God desired so much to be with us, that he did not allow wealth or power to separate his son from the struggles we live. Jesus would later say, “Foxes have dens... but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He lived that reality from birth. And just think of it, God the Son knew he would be born homeless into the world before he came to us in flesh. Jesus chose the manger, the danger of human life.
He did it so that he could lay down the life he took up as the perfect sacrifice for human sin. Even in the manger the Son of God pursued the cross.
Let those images shape your memories of Christmas and celebrate the birth of Christ with joy.
~ Pastor Byron
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