“What Will They Say?”
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David. (Luke 2:1-4)
2017 has been an incredible year for our congregation. We have had the opportunity to experience something that one could only imagine: the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the 275th Anniversary of the congregation, and the 200th Anniversary of our sanctuary, all happening during the same year. The planning for this celebrative year made it possible to enjoy all three anniversaries while creating memories that will be with us a lifetime. Politically, the year has been quite interesting. A new president took office and the political parties continue to disagree on almost everything. Will there be health care? Will there be a tax cut? Will a number of politicians remain in office after the revelations of their personal lives became public? Yes, indeed, 2017 has been an interesting year and 2018 promises to be just as interesting.
One could wonder what the future will say about this time in history. Was it the worst of times? Was it the best of times? Or was it simply another year among a number of years that was interesting? What will they say?
We are about to enter the season of Advent. Advent is the season at the beginning of the church year that comes upon us as we are nearing the end of the calendar year. Advent lasts four weeks and takes us to the season of Christmas. It is a preparatory season, where the people of God are called to get ready to welcome the Messiah. The lessons we will read call us to listen again to the promises of God, to remain watchful, awake, and prepared to see and welcome the Christ child. Advent is the season of anticipation and it arrives for us on Sunday, December 3.
I love the anticipation of the Advent season and looking towards Christmas. Yet, I’m always wondering if I’m really ready. And I never know for sure until I wake up Christmas day and hear the voices of angels singing “Glory to God in the highest heaven” in my heart. Then I know I’m ready to welcome the Christ child and celebrate his birth.
As we anticipate and prepare for this year’s Christmas, I pray that those around us see the joy in our hearts and lives as we observe Advent. I hope that the world will see in us a reflection of the season and the love of God coming into the world. And if we’re wondering “What will they say?” about what they see in us, I pray these words of scripture describing the shepherds describe us too, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:20)
Let us spend our Advent and Christmas praising God for the gift of a Savior, and may we tell everyone what we know to be true. Merry Christmas!
Waiting, anticipating and watching with you, I am
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Butler +