By Reverend Nathan Clements

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. ~ Luke 2:15-20 (NRSV)

Let us now go…
Together we journey to Bethlehem to meet the Christ child anew this Christmas morn. Like the shepherds we want to travel with haste, but during the Advent season we are reminded that there is virtue in hopeful anticipation. God’s people had waited generations for the coming of the Messiah, and the four weeks of Advent remind us to slow down, pray, and reflect before we approach the manger. This thing that has taken place is extraordinary and good news for all people. As we journey, let us prepare our hearts and minds for what we are about to witness – Emmanuel, God with us, born a baby to redeem humankind.

Let it be made known…
An angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds and assured them to not be afraid, for good news of great joy for all people was his message. To you this day is born a Savior. The Messiah has come into this world. The Lord himself is among us. Let the joy of salvation be known to the ends of the earth! This good news is for each of us. And, this is the good news we share, just as the shepherds did first.

Let us be amazed…
For God to be present in human form is a gift far greater than we could ever imagine. God knew what it was like to be hungry or thirsty. God knew what it was like to love friends and family members deeply. God knew what it was like to be happy as well as frustrated. God knew what it was like to be betrayed and put to death. And yet, God would rise victorious over death that Easter morn to give the gift of life everlasting to all. Let us be amazed by what the child we greet this Christmas morn will give to us once again this year.

Let us treasure and ponder…
The angel told Mary that this child would be God’s own Son, and the shepherds rejoiced in sharing this good news with her once again. She treasured this good news and held this message in prayer and reflection. This Christmas, join me in taking time to reflect on how we can treasure this message together and ponder how the birth of our Savior affects our lives of faith.

Let us return, glorifying and praising God…
The treasure of the good news of Christ’s birth is certainly for each of us, but we must not keep it only to ourselves. The shepherds met the Christ child and spoke the angelic message they had heard, but then they went back into the world glorifying and praising God. Their lives had been changed forever! The good news of Christmas is meant to be shared far and wide beyond December 25th. Rejoice and be glad; the Savior of the nations has come!

God bless you this Christmas and throughout your journey of faith. Know that God’s love, forgiveness, and abiding presence is for you. Let us share the good news of Christ’s birth boldly with all once again.

December 24: 4:00 & 6:00 PM
Candlelight Christmas Eve Service with Holy Communion