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2022_12_18 from Brian Buhr on Vimeo.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

What can we do with Christmas? We could market it and make some money. Or, we could use it to schedule get-togethers with family and friends. Maybe we could use it to try out new recipes or to buy clothes for the winter. There are all sorts of things we can do with Christmas!

But maybe the idea of doing something with Christmas is what keeps us from understanding what Christmas is all about. After all, Christmas is not something we do. Christmas is something done to us, for us, and in us!

Consider Mary! What did she say in response to Gabriel’s announcement that she would be the mother of God? She said, “Let it be to me according to your word.” She didn’t do anything with Christmas. Christmas was given to her. God showed her His favor. God gave her a Baby. God dwelled inside of her and became her Child. We honor Mary, not for what Mary did, but for what Mary received.

That’s faith, brothers and sisters in Christ. Faith is receiving. It doesn’t do.

It is done to. It doesn’t use this or that this way or that way. It doesn’t give. It gets. Christmas is all about faith. It is all about Jesus.

Oh, but we’re so busy! We have so much to do! We don’t have the time to get it done. Our business leaves no time to receive. Christmas becomes our work instead of God’s work. But the whole point of Christmas is that it is God’s doing! “With God nothing shall be impossible,” said Gabriel to Mary. Then the Virgin conceived and bore a son and called his name Immanuel, that is, God with us.

Immanuel is still Immanuel! The God who joined the human race within Mary’s womb remains with us. As the hymnist wrote:

God is man, man to deliver;
His dear Son now is one With our blood forever!

Where is He? At the shopping center? At the game? On the road? At work? He’s everywhere! But how do we receive Him? Where does our faith receive what He has to give? Where His holy Word is proclaimed and His holy Sacraments are administered!

In church! That’s where we receive grace upon grace, gift after gift, and the Child of Christmas deigns to come to where we are and make His home with us. He who labored under the heavy burden of our sin comes to us to take our burden away and give us peace!

Let’s not neglect the services of God’s house during this holy season! Let’s keep Christ in Christmas, not by doing something with Christmas, but by having the Christ of Christmas give Himself to us!

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!

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If you are looking for a church home, we encourage you to consider First Luther! We love to share the Good News of our Savior and the help that God’s Word gives to our everyday lives! Our congregation consists of people like you from every part of our nation. People seeking a sense of belonging and an opportunity for worship, growth and fellowship. May you find grace and blessing in the time we spend together. We would love to tell you more about our congregation.

First Lutheran School provides a Christian education that nurtures the spiritual, intellectual, and personal growth of each child. The school provides another means for First Lutheran Church to bring the Word and love of God in Christ Jesus to more families.

Special thanks to those in the Armed Forces! We welcome our military and others far from home. We pray for you.