The past several months have been very taxing and stressful for many folks. This year many of the traditional practices have been set aside.
Over the months we have limited our travel options and have known family and friends who have suffered an impact from COVID. In a way, all this seems to come to a crescendo now as Christmas Day approaches. Many of us will not have the joy of family gatherings that have been infused into our Christmas celebrations.
It would certainly be a wonderful Christmas present if, by some great miracle, all the precautions we’ve been exercising and all the changes which have been placed into daily life could be completely gone. Wouldn’t that be a super Christmas present? Everyone could get back to the pattern of life that we had before the pandemic issues, before the political pressures. The qualities of life, which are normally just part of each day, would return
Often, at Christmas time, we are fond of remembering the way Christmas was celebrated when we were young. One of my favorite memories of Christmas is the Christmas Eve service at church when I was a young boy. It was a large church, made of stone. The sanctuary had a high, peak ceiling with dark, wooden, arched beams crossing over the pews. The evening service was lighted more softly than a Sunday morning service.
The Christmas tree was covered with white lights and the candles placed in each window up and down the side aisles gave a warm, soft glow, a counterpoint to the snow falling outside. Thinking back to such Christmases past, it is easy to long for the qualities that seemed to saturate those days.
Matthew’s Gospel helps us with this spirit, chapter one, verses eighteen to twenty-five:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
The ultimate gift from God for His people.
Pastor Bob LeFavi
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