Word from the Pastor

The Season of Hope

This season is so full of hope! And Hope Has A Name…his name is Jesus!

This season is so full of hope!  And Hope Has A Name…his name is Jesus!

After the shepherds visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem, they were eager to share their story: an encounter with angels, the glory of God illuminating the fields, the angels’ announcement about the birth of a Savior, and of course the baby in a manger. This Family Sunday, the children of CLA are also eager to share the story of the baby in a manger too.

As the shepherds shared the story everyone who heard was amazed. But Scripture says that Mary, “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”. Why did Mary respond differently? The shepherds’ good news was amazing indeed, but it was not surprising or unexpected for Mary. She had received an angelic visit more than nine months earlier and had spent countless hours contemplating the implications of that encounter. Already aware that her child had a world-altering destiny to fulfill, Mary had been waiting in hopeful expectation for months.

The word “treasured” means “to preserve knowledge or memories (as for later use).” Mary’s experience with the shepherds confirmed what she already knew about the significance of her Son, Israel’s promised Messiah. Mary had pondered that reality in her heart throughout her entire pregnancy. Now she collected more treasured memories to store and consider for the future. She knew that Jesus had a divine calling, but could she imagine all that it would entail?  I’m not sure.

Despite the unusual hustle and bustle of Mary’s “first Christmas” she took time to ponder. Christmas 2022 is a different kind of hustle and bustle — parties, church and school concerts, gifts to buy and wrap, mall parking lots and grocery stores to endure, and maybe some added stress of hosting and family dynamics. But as the children sing When I Think About Christmas, slow down and ponder this baby who changed everything by being an extraordinary gift to all of us…Immanuel, God with us, in all of it.

You see friends, we too have a divine calling if we’ve accepted Jesus into our lives. We’re all asked to share this story just like the shepherds did. And if you’re parents raising children in a world that ignores God’s truth for their own agenda, you’ll want to take extra special care to tell it well to your children. What traditions can you include to make sure the message of Jesus is not drowned out? When I think about Christmas I stop and ponder how this baby, who grew up to die on the cross for you and me, has transformed my life. Let’s all allow the Holy Spirit to turn our pondering into action because this Hope is for everyone!