Christian beware!!! Today is the “last day of Christmas”.
Maybe you have already taken down your tree and decorations. If not, I am guessing soon. Whatever the case, beware, watch out, don’t let your guard down.
As the world around us moves on from Christmas, the many reminders of the season are slowly being packed away for another year. And as that happens, the threat of forgetting looms larger and larger all the time. Soon life will return to “normal”.
May that never be.
Just because the Christmas season has passed it doesn’t mean the promises of Christmas should be packed away as well. The love of God that came down in that baby in the manger, Jesus, is still alive and well the other months of the year. This Good News is not seasonal, and praise be to God for that. I don’t know about you, but I need to hear about God’s love every single day. I need to read scripture, pray, think about, contemplate, ponder and question every single day. I need to hear that my sins are forgiven. I need to hear that God is nearer to me than I am to myself. I need to hear the Good News proclaimed to me every single day. I need to hear about the hope of the resurrection.
I need Jesus.
So Christian beware!!! Don’t grow complacent as “normalcy” re-enters your life.
Keep running to the manger to see God’s love.
Keep running to the cross to see Jesus die for you.
Keep running to the tomb to see it empty.
Don’t pack away the Good News of Christmas with the rest of your decorations. Prominently display this Good News for all to see. And if it helps you, throw in a few “Merry Christmas” greetings throughout the year. I guarantee you will get people’s attention and get them thinking again and maybe even yourself.
So Christian beware and be merry.
Merry Christmas and Praise be to God :-)
The Pastor -|—
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. [Matthew 2:11]
A quick Christmas trivia question for you: How many wise men (magi) were there? Three? Actually we don’t know know. Scripture talks of three gifts but not the number of magi that showed up :-)
But seriously, these magi (this is where we get our word “magic” and “magician”) traveled a great distance to find this king. And once there, scripture says they bowed down to worship Jesus. And one only bows down to someone who is of higher status or importance than oneself. These magi (magicians, astrologers, worshippers of the stars) knew who they were in the presence of and humbled themselves before Jesus; their new King and Way of life. I imagine they returned home changed.
And really, humbly coming before Jesus in worship is the only appropriate response to Jesus. When you consider what he did for you, how can you not fall down before him. Jesus was born in order to die for you and for me; miserable sinners. Jesus came to bring us to God. Jesus came to defeat death and give us life.
These wise men were indeed wise. They recognized their true King and Way of life. Humbly come before Jesus and worship the one who is worthy; the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Humbly come before Jesus and praise the one who gives you life.
Merry Christmas and Amen.
The Pastor -|—
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. [Luke 2:20]
It’s still Christmas. And I’m not talking about being in the midst of the 12 days of Christmas. It’s still Christmas in the sense that the Good News of Christmas is still Good News and always will be. I don’t imagine the shepherds glorifying and praising God only for a season. I imagine it continued on and on. They saw and heard amazing news. They gazed into the face of salvation. They had their lives turned upside down (or in terms of my Christmas sermon, “messed up”). I mean, how does one get sick and tired of news like this:
Jesus was born for you that you may know God and therefore everlasting life.
That is amazing!
That is awesome!
A season is not enough time to share the Good News of Jesus for there are many who have not heard. And for those who have heard, we often forget. So continue on your way, like the shepherds, glorifying and praising God for all you have seen and heard.
Praise be to God, always and forever, Amen!!!
The Pastor -|—
O God, loving Father, what a beautiful morning to wake up and contemplate your amazing love. For Jesus was born for us that we may come to know more of you. Not that we don’t think about your love on other days but Christmas seems to heighten our awareness of this awesome gift. May this awareness not weaken throughout the year. May we not drift back into being complacent. May we not take this gift of all gifts for granted.
Holy God, I am also reminded of those who are grieving this Christmas season; people who are mourning the death of a loved one or the ending of a relationship. May they be reminded of your amazing grace and love. May they be granted strength and courage to meet the days ahead. May they cling to that which will never end; You, O God.
God of healing, I am especially mindful this morning of those in my own community who are sick. There seems to be a lot of people dealing with the flu or some other ailment. Please don’t let Satan win but rather grant healing, strength or whatever is needed so that those not feeling well, here in Jackson or elsewhere, may remember the joy of this day.
O God, you are great. You are awesome. And words fail to describe you to the fullest. Bless this day and all our days that we may glorify you and shout from the mountain top that Jesus Christ is born and is Lord of all. All praise to you, O God.
The Pastor -|—
From my home to your home…
We hope and pray that your Christmas is one filled with joy and great expectation as you worship this awesome God of ours. May the Holy Spirit strengthen or create the faith in you to see Jesus as your Lord and Savior. And May the God of all creation, create in you the passion to shout from the mountain tops that Jesus has been born for all. Let us pray…
Loving, holy and amazing God, I thank you for this incredible gift, Jesus Christ our Lord.
May those who are grieving find hope.
May those who are lost be found.
May those who are oblivious come to know.
May those who hunger be fed.
May those stray be carried back.
And may the hope of Christmas be our strength as we cling to the hope of the resurrection. All praise to you, O God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Have a very Merry Christmas!
The Pastor -|—
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord ; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. [Psalm 84:1-2]
I like to travel and visit new and interesting places or visit some of my old favorites. One of my favorite places to go is NW Washington. It’s beautiful out there; along the Cascade Mountains and the Puget Sound. I love the seafood and especially seeing friends. And being out on the road can be fun for a while; driving through the mountains, but eventually the traveling and the time away gets old and I begin to long for home. I long for my place of rest and peace.
How lovely is your dwelling place
The psalmist here is longing to go home. He realizes he has been away long enough and is anxiously awaiting the day that he will return to the courts of the Lord. Later in this beautiful Psalm, the author writes, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
We do live in a sinful and wicked world and the heart wired for the Lord longs to return to it’s creator; to dwell in the lovely place of the Lord. Christmas is a time to remember that God has opened the way for his children to return home. And the way home is Jesus. Through faith in Jesus; in his death and resurrection, we can have the hope dwelling in God’s lovely places someday. And when you see your salvation in Jesus, your heart, too, will long and faint for the glory of God and to dwell in his courts forever.
Sing for joy to our living God for He is Good and Awesome!
Have a very Merry Christmas and God bless!
The Pastor -|—
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” [Luke 2:14]
When Jesus was born…
~ The Roman empire didn’t suddenly fall.
~ Wars didn’t stop.
~ Hunger didn’t vanish.
~ Poverty didn’t disappear.
~ Diseases weren’t instantly cured.
~ World peace was not achieved.
None of these things happened, but peace did appear. And it appeared in the midst of this stuff. People often wonder and question:
If God is so loving then why is there war? Disease? Death of the young? Etc…
If these things exist then God can not. That is silly rationale and something that does not see or understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter is that Jesus came in the midst of a fallen world (among it) to redeem creation from sin. Jesus came to save you. When Jesus was born, the very thing the angels sang about happened:
Peace came among us
And with that peace among us ~ Jesus ~ we can have the strength to face conflict, disease, hunger, death and anything this world throws at us; knowing that God, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, has overcome this world by defeating the last enemy: Death. And our peace is that through faith in Jesus we too have overcome this world.
So live at peace is this chaotic, messed up world and hold onto the hope of the resurrection. Be at peace and sing with the angels:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Praise be to God!
The Pastor – |—