As staff and leaders, part of our Advent preparation includes plans for the many ways we celebrate the birth of our Lord. This is all designed to help us reflect on this deep and powerful mystery of the Word that became flesh and lived among us. What does “The Word became flesh” really mean? I will resist a brief theological treatise and simply invite you to live it – LIVE!
“The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have beheld his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
“They offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)
Primarily due to the story of the magi, we think of Christmas as a time of giving. And that giving takes on many forms. As you read this, Operation Christmas Child gifts are well on their way — these gifts are received by children all over the world.
“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus… and she gave birth to her firstborn son… and laid him in a manger. (Luke 2: 1,7)
This is a story that takes place in history. And so, we can imagine the commotion of traveling to one’s own town to be registered. There was confusion and crowds and “no place for them in the inn.” To help us imagine and experience this, there are two opportunities to experience this story: Nov. 28 – “Walk to Bethlehem” and Dec. 19 -“Live Nativity.”
“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard.”
There is something about this story that make us want to sing and tell it. It is not the kind of thing you can contain or keep to yourself. So it is to this day. On Dec. 5, we all have this opportunity to reach out with an evening of caroling to others in our Faith community.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God.” (Luke 2:13)
Music and singing are powerful parts of the Christmas story. Some of the most powerful hymns, songs, and carols are associated with Christmas. On Dec. 9, we will gather for our annual Christmas Concert. It is a wonderful evening of music and song!
“And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son.” (Matthew 1:31)
Of all the ways God might reveal Himself to us, who would even imagine an infant child! And since that time God has continued to surprise us with the way He comes to us. Ever since Bethlehem, the place of children in the story of God is prominent. And so it is that we count on children to tell us this story. There are two opportunities for this: on Dec.12 we will hear the witness of our Preschool-Kindergarten students, and on Dec. 16., our 1st – 6th graders.
“They knelt down and paid him homage.” (Matthew 2:11)
Finally, all our preparations for Christmas culminate in worship. Like all the characters in this grand story, we give to God our thanks and praise and worship. What else can we do? There are five opportunities to worship and celebrate the birth of our Lord: Dec. 24 @ 2, 4, 6 and 11 p.m. and Dec. 25 @ 10 a.m.
Prepare yourself to meet the Lord!
Pastor Randy Freund