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December 15, 2021, 8:12 AM

Dear Friends,

            Thank you to everyone who helped promote and prepare for our “Master’s Voice” Concert! We had a good crowd for the event and wonderful refreshments afterwards. Personally, I like their Christmas concert just a hair better than their regular concert, because it helped focus the Advent/Christmas season. Again, thank you to those who moved furniture, took down and reset the handbells, and everyone who made refreshments and set up for the reception after the concert!

            Our Christmas Cantata this past Sunday was a wonderful highlight to our Advent season. It was a special, and enjoyable, service! Jaime and the Choir did a wonderful job singing our Savior’s praise! Thank you to Wanda, Jaime, and all the choir for their work and shared talent!

            Also, thanks to David and Cathy, Jim, Ethan, and Dani for decorating our entry into this year’s Christmas parade. David and Cathy created the angels for the back of the truck nativity scene, but due to unexpected wind, Jim wound up lying in the bed of the truck holding the angels down lest they had a short flight over the side. Thanks Jim and the rest of our parade folks.

            The Christmas Eve service will again be back in the Sanctuary. Come and celebrate the Savior’s birthday as we share His birth story through readings and Carols and candlelight! This service will be livestreamed, too, so we hope that you will join us – even if it is not in-person!

            Let me also say thank you congregation for the Christmas bonus gift! It means a lot to Dani and me! For all of us on the Church staff, we appreciate your mindfulness and care as we work together to be the best congregation possible.

            I always find it intriguing that Christmas has become such a big celebration. Probably during Jesus’ lifetime there was no celebration or recognition of his birthday. In Matthew, the wisemen showed up to give honor to the young boy, born under a royal star. They were not there to specifically celebrate his first or second birthday, as evidenced by the gifts they brought for him. Rather, they came to honor and worshipped him.

            In Luke’s Gospel, the angels invited the shepherds to see the baby, “born unto you, in the City of David.” Jesus is God’s gift to them and to all the world, so they went to see what the angels promised. When they found the right baby, they, too, praised God for this gift of life and then went back to their sheep. Not a typical birthday celebration as we know it.

            None of our Gospels have any story, or acknowledgement, about anyone celebrating Jesus’ birthday. It was not until the Holy Roman Church became established that the observance of Christmas came into being. That was assisted, perhaps, by the adoption of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament Canon with birth stories in Matthew and Luke.

            Jesus’ birthday celebration for us and the historical Church is a melding of his birth and death. We know the gift and the sacrifice of Jesus sent to show us God’s love and to receive the worst of human wrath. We celebrate his birthday of the past, as he entered the world, and we celebrate with anticipation his future return to set all things right. As Christians, our celebration as congregations and individuals is about the beginning of God’s faithful plan to reconcile us all to God’s Self--past, present, and future-- alike through Jesus saving work. These are the reasons we sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Angels We have Heard On High.” It is why we sing, “Silent Night, Holy Night” rather than “Happy Birthday to You.” Christmas is about more than just his birth!

            I hope you will join us in person or by Live stream as we remember and honor Jesus, our Emmanuel, God-with-us. Check this newsletter for the correct times for our services and make plans to bring friends and family with you!

In Christ’s service together wherever He leads,