Mount Calvary Family,
Andy Williams had it right when he crooned, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." It's a lovely pop tune that, like so many pop culture Christmas traditions, celebrates the celebration more than the heart of the season. As children of God, we celebrate the first snow of the season, the seasonal winter activities we so enjoy, and party times with friends just as do others . . . But we celebrate something more. . . . Each December, during the Christmas season, we celebrate the news the angels delivered on that Holy Night, "For to you is born this night, in the City of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!" Now that's something to celebrate! Our chief celebration at Mount Calvary comes again at 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve. Do you have a friend who needs that late night reminder of what Christmas is really all about?
Of course, no celebration is a success without preparation. Selecting music and preparing worship services is already beginning as I write this in early November. Our true time of preparation for Christmas, however, doesn't begin until four Sundays before Christmas, counting Christmas Eve this year. December 3 is the first Sunday of Advent as we begin our Christmas preparations in worship and praise of our coming Savior. The color of the season is Royal Purple or Royal Blue. Do you catch the theme? They are "Royal" colors, chosen to mark the arrival of the King and Lord of Heaven and Earth… Lord of the universe and all that lies beyond! He came to our aid in the helpless form of a baby, quite literally "born in a barn". He was laid on a bed of straw in a feed box for cattle and other domestic beasts. Any rational man would question the wisdom of such an approach. The first tactic of His forces’ battle plan in this war against sin and death was to retreat in the face of Herod's troops who were sent to the City of Bethlehem to execute every baby boy under the age of 2. In Matthew 2:18, the Evangelist describes the horror using the words of Jeremiah 31:15, “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” . . . This is God's idea of a rescue plan? . . . Well, yes. God sent His Son to deliver these young children and other heirs of His promises to Abraham, those of every nation and people who share Abraham's faith in God and His promises.
Just how does this plan work when these children's lives are already lost? . . . It works through the death of the Man into whom this Child grew, Jesus of Nazareth. On Good Friday, Jesus gave His life on the tree of the cross for their sins, for our sins, for all sins, even for the sins of those brutal men who killed those children in Bethlehem by the sword that day, and those who killed Jesus three decades later on that cross. And how does that work? . . . It works through the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning, with the power to raise all who follow Him in faith. . . . And it all began with a child wrapped in rags and lying in a manger! . . . Only God could make a plan like that work . . . Thank God He did!
May the hope of Good Friday's sacrifice and Easter's Victory born in the manger that first Christmas fill your hearts with peace and joy this year and every year. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among those with whom He is pleased!" (Luke 2:14)
About The Author
Since 2015, Pastor John Carrier has been Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church's pastor in Detroit, Michigan. He is also the Director for Camp Restore Detroit. Mt. Calvary has a bi-monthly newsletter, which opens with words from Pastor Carrier, called "From The Pastor's Desk..."