MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Christmas time isn’t just a wonderful time of the year to reflect on the birth of our Savior, it can also be a challenging time. If you’re like me, you probably have or had some “Christmas Traditions”. And each year there’s that (not so) subtle pressure to keep the traditions alive. Sometimes that can get expensive, and at the very least can keep us busy. I put out lights this year. It was fun… but then when I went to put up our nice artificial pencil tree (small in width because of where we live), a third of the lights didn’t work. Another is being shipped. Oy vey!
What are you doing this Christmas? For some, it’s being with family; for others it is with friends; some have it a bit more complicated… which of your folks? For many it is a time for feasting and laughter; and for others there are the haunting memories of Christmas’ past, and loved ones no longer here. For all too many the wonder of Christmas is shadowed by loneliness and a sense of loss.
But what did the angels cry out?
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:8-14 NLT)
The angels proclaimed the Good News that Jesus was born! The Savior had come, to bring us love, salvation, life, peace, hope, and joy, and so much more (note Galatians 5:22-23). Christmas is a time of Good News… It is a reminder that our God keeps His promises… that His love knows no bounds… and that you… yes, YOU are very, very dear to him; so much so that God gave us His Son, that we might live with Him eternally. May that truth put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step this season… and always.
Last Sunday I spoke on “Hope in the Midst of Darkness” where I spoke of our promise of hope in Christ. This Sunday I will be back in John 16, looking at verses 25-33, and speaking of His love. Not everyone gets it; but His love is very real, and something we need to be reminded of.
Don’t forget our Christmas Eve service at 6:00pm. (Did I mention it is on Christmas Eve? LOL!)
Finally, the Christmas season has produced another “tradition” - so-to-speak - for me as a pastor… Each year I get asked about “Santa Clause”. I grew up with Santa Clause; but I should also mention that my family didn’t know Christ then. When Benjamin was young, I had great concerns about reconciling the Christ of Christmas - and it’s true meaning, with the jolly fat guy. I was concerned about a Santa who was very generous to those with money, but gave little or nothing to the poor. And I struggled with how to convey Santa to a child who would struggle to nuance a lie vs. a fun example/metaphor… or whatever you’d want to call him. So… this year, in honor of this “tradition”, I thought I’d post an excellent article on the subject from gotquestions.org (See below). Maybe it will help.
I love and appreciate you all so much! Pastor Brian
Brian Harrison, Pastor
East Shore Baptist Church
6721 Jonestown Road
Harrisburg, PA 17112
Question: "What should parents tell their children about Santa Claus?"