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Getting Out the WORD - the nativity of our lord
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 29 December 2011 13:30

the PRAYER. . .

All-powerful and unseen God, the COMING of your light into our world has brightened weary hearts with peace. Call us out of darkness, and empower us to proclaim the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things CAME into being through him, and without him not one thing CAME into being. What has COME into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overCOME it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He CAME as a witness to testify to the light, so that all
might believe through him.  He himself was not the light, but he CAME to testify to the light.  The true light, which enlightens everyone, was COMING into the world.

He was in the world, and the world CAME into being through him; yet the world did not know him.  He CAME
to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.  But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to beCOME children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word beCAME flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son,
full of grace and truth.       (John 1:1-14 )

the DEVOTION. . .

 

There was so much to do. . .  Construct the tree!  Put up the lights!  Hang the ornaments!  The stockings!  Deck the halls! Gifts!  Cards!  Gift cards!  Ship!  Mail!  Bake!  Dust!  Vacuum!  And, of course, there was worship!  On Christmas Eve and, this year, on Christmas morning, too!  Now, on "the fifth day of Christmas" - with seven more days to go - it's hard to believe any of it ever happened!  And looking back, it feels like Christmas depended on us!  On our energy!  Our efforts!

 

Truth is, Christmas would have come without our help!  It would have come whether we were ready or not!  One gift short?  One day late?  It wouldn't have mattered.  Mary wouldn't have waited!  Jesus, still, would've been born!  But, then, that's the nature of grace!  God's love doesn't simply sit back. . .  watching. . .  waiting. . .  We're the ones that do that!  Not god!

 

That's what John sings about in this first handful of verses!  "All things CAME into being!"  "John CAME to testify!"  "The light was COMING into the world!"  "The world beCAME flesh and blood!"  Everyone and every thing is COMING and beCOMING!  Not once do we hear the word "go"!  From start to finish. . .  from beginning to end. . .  WE have been the destination!  The objective!  The goal!  God!  Jesus!  The Ones. . .  the One. . .  COMING to us!  This year - inspite of the ice and snow! - the good news of Christmas is that God has COME!  God continues to COME!  Love never ends, we're told.  But, more importantly, love never stays away, either!


bob barndt, pastor

 
Getting Out the WORD - the fourth sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 15:00

the PRAYER. . .

Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.  With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that would obstruct your mercy, that willingly we may bear your redeeming love to all the world, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .

And [the angel Gabriel] came to [Mary] and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. . .  Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end..."                  (Luke 1:26-38)

the DEVOTION. . .


Apparently, according to the latest reports, there's a war going on!  A war against Christmas!  People saying, "Happy Holidays!" and "Season's Greetings!" instead of "Merry Christmas!"  Manger scenes no longer allowed on courthouse lawns!  "Holiday" trees replacing the good old "Christmas" kind!  All part, as I understand, of a conspiracy to get rid of Christmas - REAL Christmas - in America.  (Kinda ironic, though, that the descendants of the Puritans are trying as hard as they are to preserve the very thing their ancestors fought to eliminate!  But, I digress.)  Anyway, it all reminds me of that one-liner that makes it on so many church signs this time of year.  "Xmas is Christmas without Christ!"  However. . .

 

"X" is the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet and the first letter - the "Ch" - in the title 'Christ'!  Instead of a way to eliminate Christ, it's a way of abbreviating it!  Like the way we often end emails!  Instead of typing out full names, we simply put initials!  Xmas is the same.  It's still Christmas, only without the "r," "i," "s," and "t"!

 

But, one other thing.  The letter 'X' is, also, one of the ways we make a cross!  Signing something with the letter 'X' meant not only that you couldn't write.  But it showed you were a Christian!  You made the mark of the cross!  So, Xmas isn't Christmas without Christ.  It's "Ch"-mas WITH the cross!  And what better way to celebrate the birth of a savior. . .  of a savior who came to suffer. . .  to break. . .  and to bleed. . .  and to die. . .  not just for us, but for all creation! Merry Xmas to y'all. . . and to y'all a good Night!

bob barndt, pastor
 
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