Dear members and friends of Christ,
It is easy to have warm, happy, memories of Christmas. We reminisce of favorite memories, most often from our childhood. I have many great stories about Christmas, which I’d love to share, as I’m sure most of you do as well. One Christmas a few years ago for me was particularly special, even though it was simpler than most. But what I remember most about this one Christmas was me simply being thankful that I could drive home to be home for Christmas.
It is 508 miles from Concordia Seminary in St Louis, Missouri (where I prepared 4 years to be a pastor) to my parents’ home in Cecil, Wisconsin. During the two-week thanksgiving/deer hunting season break I had at home, my car decided to go off-roading. As I was driving home from Gillett (my high school town), I had my favorite country song playing a little too loud, and I was driving a little too fast, and it was the first snowfall of the year. The perfect ingredients for me to skid down a fifteen foot ditch into a recently chopped cornfield (about ten feet away from a telephone pole).
First snowfall. I know how to drive in snow better than that. I’d been living in the city too long.
Thankfully, I was able to drive out, with my care “relatively” unscathed. (Thanks God). Turns out, I dented my fender, ripped up some of the undercarriage, dented a tire rim, ruined my bearings, and bent a steering arm. Mom let me drive her car back to St. Louis. For Christmas, my car got a make-over. (Thanks mom and dad).
It is 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph struggled to make that journey over mountainous terrain especially because Mary was “great with Child.” In a mystery that we can never fully explain or comprehend, God was making the journey from heaven to earth; God was making the journey with them in Mary’s womb. “And so it was that while they were there, the days were completed for Mary to deliver. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2: 6-7).
A difficult journey and a gift of love! Christmas is and always will be (for those who know) the celebration of our Heavenly Father’s gift to this lost world, of His very own Son, Jesus the Christ. “For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). It is Jesus the sinless Son of God who became “a man of sorrows and was acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). “He, Himself bore in His own body, our sins on that tree (the cross).” And yet that tree of terrifying death has become a tree of everlasting life to all those who pray, “Ah dearest Jesus holy child, make thee a bed soft, undefiled, within my heart that it may be, a quiet chamber kept for Thee.”
This really is the most amazing journey and the greatest gift of love ever given!
This Advent and Christmas season, we make that journey once again. The journey that lifts up our souls as our Savior comes down to us. Read the Christmas account in Luke, chapter two. While you’re at it, read the account in Matthew’s gospel. Notice all the historical detail that is given. This is no long, long ago, far, far away fairy tale. This is the most blessed reality. God came from heaven to save sinners! Jesus came into our world for us. Jesus came into our world, for you! So read the account.
Attend our Sunday Advent services, “Beautiful Savior, King of Creation” as we discover why the gift of Jesus is so much more important than we know. Attend our Wednesday Advent services, “God With Us”: An Old Testament Advent, which show how the prophecies Isaiah had of Jesus’ birth are still relevant today. This year, make the Christmas journey once more, and as you do, experience the wonderful love of God all over again! Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Wishing each of you a most blessed, safe, and Joyful Christmas, in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Pastor Aaron Boerst