This was not your typical Christmas in Michigan. There was no snow, it was warm out and cloudy. We are accustomed to a snowy, cold, Christmas. When our children were little, we had been to the early Christmas Eve Service at church. The evening was cold, clear, and crisp. The stars were out and shining. Our two children began yelling in the back seat, “It’s the star!” and telling us to look. There was the brightest, most beautiful star imaginable. They believed in that star. Every year when there was fresh fallen snow, we would see reindeer tracks in the snow and know that Santa had visited us and left presents. They believed in Santa Claus. After our children were grown and we had grandchildren the wonders began again. When we were all gathered on Christmas Eve at our house, and we had lit the Advent wreath and had dinner, we would hear a noise on our front porch and Santa would leave a present for each of the Grandchildren. We never saw him, but we knew it had been Santa. Grandpa who had just ran out to the garage for something, had seen him briefly as he flew away. Children believe in a Santa Claus that travels the world in a single night and brings gifts to good little children. It’s possible, most of us have believed the story. But the story of a God who loves each of his children and forgives their sins is even more compelling. A God who sent his son to earth as a baby to live among us and then to die on a cross for our sins. We don’t leave this story with our childhood but carry it with us always.
This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear Friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.1 John 4:10-12
Lord, we thank you for this Christmas season and the reminder that Christ came to earth as a baby, grew into a man, and fulfilled the mission he received from you. We thank you that he continues to be with us today. Be with our church, may we be a place where you are found. Be with our Pastor and his family, bless them, be with our staff and our leaders, bless all they do. Be with those who are grieving this season and those who are ill, may they feel you near. Give us guidance as we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ. In Jesus name, Amen