December Message From Pastor Gary “What a wonderful time of year this is!”

When the angels had left them and gone to heaven, the shepherds said to one another,

“Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So, they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:15-20)

What a wonderful time of year this is! So many traditions we look forward to all year: Light up the Town, Christmas Eve, Julotta, and all our many family celebrations.
One of my favorites is a special Christmas party my close family and friends have each year which has come to be called “The Moose party.” Everyone, well most of us anyway, show up in basically the same moose costume. You might think, “We look like reindeer,” but we are really moose. The company is great, the food is amazing, but the moose suits are hot.
The one thing I need to share with you is that the moose suits also shed.

Once it is out and about, you can find teeny tiny bits of moose fur sneakily everywhere it shouldn’t be. For months you can find a speck of fake moose fur on the car seat, a tie or sweater, many times, in places you thought it could never have found its way. This made me think of how awesome it would be if we, “His baptized children – His spirit filled disciples,” would spread His Christmas message in our world just as easily.

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19, we are “not our own.” We belong entirely to Christ. His spirit has taken possession of us at baptism. We are the Temples of the Holy Spirit. Our thoughts, our actions, our desires, are, by rights, more His than our own. But we have to struggle to ensure that God always receives from us what we owe Him.

By Christ we are supposed to be the light of the world. We are supposed to be a light to ourselves and to others. That may well be what accounts for the fact that the world is in darkness. Are we called to be “wise men” or “saints?” NO! Like the shepherds in the fields, we come when called, serve as needed, and share the marvelous, the wonderful, the amazing, word of God at every opportunity: in our world, at our home, at our workplace, and with our friends.

Like little sneaky pieces of fake moose hair, let us become little visible beacons of light shining forth by our actions, sticking anyplace, to anyone, and in the most unexpected places.

So, go to your parties; go to work; go out into the world, but go out in faith like the shepherds, believing that God himself gives you the light, the strength, and the courage to fulfill His tasks by sharing and spreading His word.

I close with an excerpt from The Martin Luther Christmas Book.

“Unto you is born this day….. a savior.” Let us look for a moment at the spiritual significance. Mary is the figure of Christianity, that is, all Christians who wrap the newborn Child in the word of the Gospel; the swaddling clothes signify the preaching of the Gospel; the manger signifies the place where Christians come together to hear the word of God. The ox and the ass stand for us. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” This is wrong. We should correct this passage to read, “They went and shaved their heads, fasted, told their rosaries, put on cowls.” Instead, we read, “The shepherds returned.” Where to? To their sheep. Oh, that can’t be right! Did they not leave everything and follow Christ? Must not one forsake father and mother, wife and child, to be saved? But the Scripture says plainly that they returned and did exactly the same work as before. They did not despise their service, but took it up again where they left off with all fidelity and I tell you that no bishop on earth ever had so fine a crook as those shepherds.

Merry Christmas! Pastor Gary

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