Monthly pastor's newsletter article
Many of you probably saw news reports about the chaos that broke out at many stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. Known as Black Friday, the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, anxious shopper camped out in tents in front of stores the night before. Door-busting crowds gathered at the crack of dawn and rushed in hoping to find the best bargains they could. The chaos was maddening.
In one store, a greedy shopper used pepper spray to deter other shoppers from grabbing an item she wanted to buy. At other stores, police officers and store security officials were called in to quell near-riotous behaviors. Video surfaced showing police officers using Tasers to subdue unruly customers.
Yet, when I arrived at the church for worship the Sunday after Thanksgiving, there were no door-busting crowds waiting to get in. No one was camped out in tents in the front field. A part of me was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to pepper spray anybody (maybe next week!). I guess Jesus isn’t as popular as discounted flat screen TVs and tablet computers.
Isn’t it sad that people will go to great lengths to save a few dollars on something that will wear out one day yet never give thought to gaining something that will last for all eternity?
It seems that every year that goes by the message of Christmas is muted by clarion calls for bigger and better shopping deals. Yet, the message of Christmas remains the same: God with us!
God is with us through His Son, Jesus Christ. God is with us to save us. God is with us to free us from sin, Satan and death. God is with us to comfort us. God is with us to love us. God is with us to shower us with the riches of His mercy and grace. God is with us to adopt us into His family of faith. God is with us to give our lives meaning and purpose and hope. God is with us to forgive us. God is with us to bind up our broken hearts and mend our broken lives.
Yet, many people treat the message of Christmas as yesterday’s news. Many people are looking for something bigger, brighter, shinier, and with longer battery life and more downloadable apps. However, there is no manmade product or device that can fill the hole in our soul. We are an incomplete people and we can only find wholeness when we accept God’s gift of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. That is the message that we need to share with others—not just during the holidays—but every day.
Carole and I wish you all a joyous and blessed Christmas and a Happy New Years.
The shepherd loves the sheep!