Greetings from St. Paul Lutheran Church of Bulverde, Texas. The people of this family of believers wish you a joyous Christmas as we celebrate the coming of God’s Son into the world. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor, sharing some time with you every week that might offer to you some pause for thought about our place in this world as people of faith. If you don’t know Jesus, maybe these moments might introduce you.
I’d like a moment to invite you to join us this Christmas Eve for worship as we celebrate the coming of Christ. At 5:00 PM, we have our Family Nativity Service with carols and prayers, our Lord’s Supper and a candlelight litany all tied together in God’s Word of salvation in the birth of Jesus. Then at 9:00 PM, we have a full Candlelight Service with a focus on a much loved hymn “Silent Night, Holy Night.” I think you’ll be surprised where it takes us and it won’t be silent, I guarantee. Please feel free to come and join us.
With Christmas only a little more than a week away, you might know my Blog/Vlog is about Christmas. Believe it or not, I have no intention of running down the barrage of commercialism assaulting the season. Nor will I remark on the questionable decorations that some appoint as appropriate for the season. Nope! I want to share a few thoughts about family and friends.
I had my last chapel session with the children of our Christian Day School this past Tuesday. Naturally we talked about Christmas. With their help (which seemed more challenging than normal because either they all had on a sugar rush or the excitement of Christmas was weighing heavily on them), we identified all the key parts of the Christmas story — the Bible one not the TV one. I was overjoyed when they started with Jesus instead of Santa Claus (he didn’t even get mentioned) and moved on to all the rest — Mary and Joseph, shepherds (lambs were included) and angels (at least a ga-zillion of them), a star and wise men (no magi, but a few kings).
Then I told them there was one important person missing that they forgot to mention. You wouldn’t believe some of the answers I got. I finally pointed to the kids and said, “YOU!” Christmas needs you. It wouldn’t be complete without you. After all, God came into this world because of His love for you, for me, and for all people everywhere. He is terribly disappointed if you or I or any of us aren’t there.
Our presence is of such great importance because after the work of saving us from sin, death and the power of the devil, God has charged us with the responsibility of sharing His message of hope and life, light and love with the world. For 2,000 years the birth of the Christ child has been proclaimed and witnessed, treasured and shared with countless people. Many have come to believe in Him. Others still refuse because they can’t or won’t, but the Word of God’s salvation in Jesus persists. It will not be silenced as long as we who believe are a part of Christmas.
So, don’t worry about getting caught up in the trappings of the holiday season as long as we remember the holiday we are celebrating is Christmas. Nothing can compare to it and nothing stands greater. Enjoy your presents in the giving and the receiving, oooh and aaah at the blinking lights decked in silver and gold, and indulge yourself, a little, in the fruit of the season.
However, please remember to share yourself in this world among those who need to hear of God’s love and mercy, His overflowing grace. God has given a gift to you in His Son. Make yourself a gift to give to others by serving a heaping portion of God’s love so they may come to know Jesus, too.
And those are my thoughts. Merry Christmas!
Pastor Lee R. Harder