By Pastor Mike Ashman, Zion Lutheran Church, Jubilee

As the winter winds howl past my door, I look to horizon seeing a landscape filled dormant trees and fields with corn stubble. Cars are rushing to and fro. Signs of life are few. Every so often, I see a bird hovering over the feeder that has not been filled in almost a month.

Inside houses people are making mad dashes to get prepared. Gifts are being wrapped.Food has been stock-piled (this year the whole family may make an appearance, even that distant cousin we have not seen in years). Decisions have been made—who we are visiting and when. Old traditions are being rejuvenated while new ones are being created.

Caught in this world of death and life, the child born to Mary was and is God’s word of promise. This promise made so long ago has brought new life to this tired old world. Imagine Mary and Joseph, after travelling miles – with tired eyes beholding the one that would bring them new life. Imagine the shepherds arriving from the nearby hillside to glimpse God’s promise of joy and peace as foretold by the angels.

As we worship, we sing hymns filled with hope, peace and joy. Gathering as congregations, families and community, we witness the miracle of the manger as the small child reaches out to each of us inviting us into God’s family. We are reminded that in arms of Christ – whether it be from the manger or the cross, you are always welcome.