God and sinners reconciled!

Please join us on Christmas Eve at 7:00, and Christmas Morning at 10:00, as we praise the newborn King!

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King:
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’angelic hosts proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King”

Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come, offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King”

~ Charles Wesley (1739)

The Lord is with you

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” ~ Luke 1:26-28

At the time of the first Christmas, Mary, the mother of Jesus, got a wonderful kind of greeting. An angel from God came to her with a special message: “Greetings, you who are highly favored!” This message must have taken this young woman by surprise. She did not think she was anything special (Luke 2:48). But the angel had some special good news for her: “The Lord is with you.”

The Lord knew everything about this young woman. God knew her life plans, her hopes and dreams. Most importantly he loved Mary deeply. As God was about to enact the culmination of his plan of salvation for the world he loved, he chose Mary, a virgin, to be a special part of that plan. God chose her to give birth to his Son, our Savior, Jesus.

The Lord is with us, just as he was with Mary. Take comfort in knowing that the Lord is with you! He stands by your side when you feel all alone. He forgives you even when you struggle to forgive yourself. He strengthens you through his gospel when you are feeling weak. He is the Light you long for as you walk in a world of darkness. The Lord is with you and always will be.

Lord God, you are with me. Remind me of your loving and abiding presence this Christmas. Amen.


Fourth Sunday in Advent

(Jesus) asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
~ Matthew 16:13b-17

Ponder the Wonder of God

He will be called Wonderful. ~ Isaiah 9:6

What a wonder! God superseded the laws of nature to be born a human being. Nothing is beyond his ability; his love for us stops at no limits to exercise itself for our complete welfare.

May the wonder of our Savior’s birth convince us once and for all that we ought not expect God’s ways to coincide with our earthbound thinking. God’s rescue plan for mankind required going beyond human comprehension. The wonder of the scene at Bethlehem is a testimony to that.

Ponder this in the solitude of your heart: What God accomplishes in our lives cannot always be gauged by appearances. If loneliness grieves us, if reverses or humble circumstances distress us, we must not conclude that our God has turned from us. It is through just such conditions that he can bring about the fulfillment of what he in his love is planning for our eternal benefit.

God’s ways are not our ways. He often acts in ways that are mysterious to us—that are a wonderful display of his power and love. He who once miraculously gave his eternal Son wrapped in human flesh can send us the most precious blessings in the plainest packages.

Dear Jesus, by the wonder of your birth you came here to share our human nature so that we may share your glory and immortality in heaven. We praise you, our wonderful Savior! Amen.