Advent 2017

From the Pastor’s Desk….
 2017 1st Sunday Advent
     If the apostle Paul were to observe the celebration of Christmas today, I’ll bet that he would instruct the church in the following manner (an article I found in a church newsletter):
     ‘To all my brothers and sisters in Christ,
     Peace be with you and all men and women. I have heard of the strife among you regarding the un-derstanding of Christmas. Do not despair, for it is the will of God that we who believe in Christ should often find ourselves at odds with the spirit of the world. But it is the grace of God that this gift should come to us in order that we might have life through Him whose humble birth calls us into God’s sovereign presence through faith. 
   Take these commandments as evidence of God’s love and desire for our understanding of the gift of Christ at Christmas’:
   I.   Thou shalt not leave “Christ” out of Christmas, making it “Xmas.” To some, “X” is unknown. 

   II.   Thou shalt prepare thy soul for Christmas. Spend not so much on gifts that thy soul is forgotten. 

   III. Thou shalt not let Santa Claus replace Christ, thus robbing the day of its spiritual reality

   IV.   Thou shalt not burden the sales associate, the mail carrier, and the merchant with complaints and demands.

   V.   Thou shalt give thyself with thy gift. This will increase its value a hundred fold, and they who receiveth it shall treasure it forever.

   VI.   Thou shalt not value gifts received by their cost. Even the least expensive may signify love, and that is more priceless than silver and gold.

   VII. Thou shalt not neglect the needy. Share thy blessings with many who will go hungry and cold unless thou are generous.

   VIII. Thou shalt not neglect thy church. Its service and mission highlight the true meaning of the season.

   IX.   Thou shalt be as a little child. Not until thou has become in spirit as a little one art thou ready to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

   X.   Thou shalt give thy heart to Christ. Let Him be at the top of thy Christmas list.

   Okay! Okay! I couldn’t resist a little moralizing about Christmas. I have to admit that I have been a lot less “Scrooge-like” this year. Being in a new church setting helps, but I am also sure that it is being more and more clear about the nature of Christmas. Like Easter, or All Saints Day, or any holiday (holy-day) the remembrances connected with these days are gifts to remind us of God’s love and not just for one day, but everyday. If Christmas is really to mean something to us as believers, then Christmas must change us, move us, and remind us of God’s gracious gift of love which came to us at Christmas, should be present to us every day, every minute, every second. The nature of Christmas is to remind us that God “so loved the world that He gave his only Son” as a gift, as a sign, as a way to Life.

    So, I write to all of you my brothers and sisters in Christ to remind us that keeping Christ in Christ-mas is keeping Christ in our hearts everyday. Then how great the gift truly is that we should remember everyday the One who gave it and rejoice in the love that prompted the Gift.

     To all of you and your loved ones, I and the staff of Good Shepherd Church wish you a joyous Christmas and Peace in the coming Christ child.
     In Christmas Love,     
     Brother Brian