From Pastor Miller (Your German Shepherd)
Who would have dreamed, last March, when the world was introduced to a new virus, that nine months later, we would continue to be coping with its effects? Yet, here we are! Politicians and theologians (not to mention so many others) are encouraging that gatherings (like Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas worship services) be avoided at all costs, calling them “super- spreaders.” As I write this, twelve states have cancelled Thanksgiving, some imposing jail-time for those caught celebrating in their homes, with friends and family. The same travesty could happen to Christmas. Personally caring for those in need and being together with those you love, rejoicing in the holy days is identified as “dangerous.” Even in a world of extreme high technology, spreading the joyous, life-changing message of the birth of our Savior is difficult, and in some areas of the world and our own country virtually impossible! Merry Christmas?
Well, yes! Absolutely! Indeed! Perhaps especially during these days and circumstances of 2020 AD!
As a couple of lines from a song from the musical Mame! aptly state it: “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute. We need a little Christmas now!” I heartily agree!
What message could be better in this sometimes-frightening, often-disturbing, always- confusing time than the great Good News that God, in His mercy and grace, sent His one and only begotten Son Jesus to be born among us, to live an absolutely sinless life for us, to bear our miserable sin and be our wondrous Savior by suffering and dying on a cross for us, to rise again and open heaven to us, to be interceding before the throne of grace even now for us, to take us to be with Him and the Father and the Spirit and all the saints when our death (or the end of all time) comes, that He loves us so dearly and constantly through every moment of every day (even in 2020 AD)? Yes, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute. We need a little (perhaps a lot of) Christmas now!
Lutheran pastor Chris Repp from Champagne, Illinois, said this of our times: “It’s almost like the story of the Grinch.” Then, he put things in perspective: “You can’t steal Christmas, even if you steal a lot of the trappings. It’s still the essential festival of the Christian church year, so we will celebrate as best we can. We’ll worship together, even though we’ll be in our separate homes …” Although they will likely not be allowed to celebrate Christ’s birth in any worship services face-to-face this year, the celebration of this miracle and of God’s astounding love for His people will happen, by God’s grace! There, and here in Helena, Montana, Christmas will not be stolen or stopped!
Who knows, who would possibly even try to guess what Christmas will finally look like this year? Our foe, the devil is likely snickering away, day-after-day at the occurrences he and his minions either initiated or used to their evil advantage. But the angels’ chorus of peace on earth, good will toward men in the Baby, born that first Christmas, will not be hushed, will be celebrated, and will inspire the hearts and lives of God’s people!
My dearly-loved people of God, even amid coronavirus, even in 2020 AD, Merry Christmas! Peace on earth – and in your heart and life, and good will from our gracious God – to you!