December 13, 2012
Dear Church Family,
Today I’m reminded that the Christmas season is not “the most wonderful time of the year” for everyone. We remember lost and estranged loved ones. Many of us sense a lingering loneliness. We fear gathering with family who feel more like strangers, if not enemies. I have to think Joseph and Mary experienced some of these aches on the first Christmas…
Joseph and Mary didn’t choose to travel to Bethlehem. It had been dictated. Joseph was on his way to a forced “family reunion.” In reality, it was a nation-wide census, requiring various residents to return to their towns of origin to be counted. Lots of Joseph’s family were probably there. But who rolled out the red carpet for Joseph and Mary’s arrival? Who was extra careful the “barefoot and pregnant” Mary had a bed for her aching back and swollen feet? Answer: no one. No family took them in. Every inn was full. Instead, they cozied up in a barn (or possibly a cave–we’re just not sure).
We don’t know if the contractions started on the way to Bethlehem or after they got there. We don’t know if a midwife helped in the delivery. All that we do know is that Mary and Joseph had been ostracized. Even years later, Jesus received slanderous accusations regarding the suspicious birth of his unwed mother (Jn. 9:34). I can’t fathom the ache Joseph and Mary felt to bring a little one into the world without any family or friends, comfort or care.
Maybe that’s why God thought it fitting that the Great Shepherd Jesus Christ be first visited by some nearby shepherds. These shepherds were a little company for Joseph and Mary. Folks there to say (foolishly of course, but funny nonetheless), “Joseph, he’s got your eyes.” I bet Joseph gave Mary a knowing glance, and Mary simply paused in wonder that her virgin body could bring forth Immanuel (“God with us”). And there’s our hope too this Christmas season. We may feel alone, afraid, or even ostracized from friends, family, and society. But Immanuel (Jesus Christ) has not left us or abandoned us. He is with us. He loves us. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. So,
God rest you merry gentlemen [and ladies]
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
Carols and Cocoa, Wednesday (12/19) 6:30PM: We will meet at the Village Ridge retirement community, 365 Marion Blvd in Marion at 6:30 PM. We will carol twice in 2 different areas. We will, also, be sharing the Christmas gifts we made during the Sunday School hour last Sunday. Feel free to visit with these dear people about their recollections of Christmas and what these songs mean to them. We will then proceed to the Olson’s, 945 Parkview Dr. in Marion, for some hot chocolate and Christmas treats and fellowship. We may carol in the neighborhood, too. If you’d like to share a favorite seasonal treat bring it along. If you have questions or get lost call Jeff Olson at 573-0669.
Christmas Eve Service, 6:30PM: Each year our Cornerstone Church family and friends celebrate Christmas with the residents at Cottage Grove Place (2115 1st Avenue Southeast). There is always room for one more…come and worship the King with us.
Cornerstone Apparel: For those who ordered Cornerstone polo shirts, we will begin distributing shirts this Sunday. The t-shirt order may be in by this Sunday as well, but we have heard no final word from the screen printer. Please bring payment when picking up shirts. If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Taylor: email@example.com
It’s a deep joy for me and my family to remember the Christ Child with this church family!!
Glory to God for His Glorious Gift of Christ. Amen and Amen.