DECEMBER 21, 2022

Dear Friends,

It’s possible that one day, we will elect a President of the United States who was born in 2022. It’s possible that some dramatic advancement in medicine or technology will take place one day because of work done years from now by a child who is today less than a year old. If Nobel prizes are still being handed out fifty years from now, in may be that a recipient in 2072 will be someone who was born in the past 12 months.

Today, no one knows which of the babies born in 2022 will one day leave their mark on our world. We don’t know who the future filmmakers or recording artists or captains of industry or statesmen are, and we won’t know for decades.

It’s possible that a national holiday may one day be declared in honor of someone who is today a baby. But right now, no one knows which babies will do something remarkable and which ones won’t.

It was different with Jesus.

His birth was noteworthy long before He did anything.

There were only a handful of people who knew that this newborn baby was no ordinary child.

Of course Mary and Joseph knew. An angel had come to both of them, telling them that Jesus was the Son of God.

Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, who had herself become a mother for the first time just months earlier knew that her soon to be born first cousin once removed was the long-awaited Messiah. During her pregnancy, her own baby had leaped in her womb and the Holy Spirit had confirmed that Mary’s son was to be her Lord.

On the night Jesus was born, an angel appeared to a small band of nearby shepherds, telling them that the Savior had come. They left their fields and went to Bethlehem to see the Christ.

Wise men from the east had seen in the heavens a star that signified the birth of a King. It was months after Jesus was born that the star led the Magi to the place where Jesus and his parents were living. They knew this child was more than a king. They fell down and worshipped Him.

These people didn’t know how Jesus would change the world. They didn’t know how He would deliver His people.

But they were the select few who knew God had come.

If nothing else had ever happened, the coming of God to earth as a man would still stand as the most significant moment in all of human history.

CS Lewis would later write “The Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, into human nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again, bringing nature up with Him. It is precisely one great miracle. If you take that away there is nothing specifically Christian left. There may be many admirable human things which Christianity shares with all other systems in the world, but there would be nothing specifically Christian.”

Jesus would not be revealed as the Messiah for another 30 years. Only a few would know who He was. And no doubt some of them wonder if the baby born in Bethlehem was truly the Messiah. A carpenter living in a backwater town like Nazareth would not seem like a strong candidate to emerge as a king like David. Maybe they had been mistaken.

But of course, they weren’t mistaken. What we celebrate this week is the grand miracle C.S. Lewis talked about. Not simply the birth of a baby. But the miracle that God came to us as one of us.

The miracle that God brought joy to the world. Let earth receive her king.

This weekend, we’ll have Carols and Candlelight at 5:00 pm on Saturday night.

And Sunday morning, on Christmas, we will not be gathering for worship. Our next service will be on Sunday morning, January 1, 2023.

Don’t forget. If you are thinking about making a year-end financial gift to help with the ongoing work of our church in 2023, and if you’d like for that gift to be able to be counted as a tax deduction in 2022, we will need to have your gift in hand by December 31, 2022.

If you’re mailing a check, make sure the envelope is postmarked by that date (remember, December 31 is a Saturday, so the post office will close early).

If you’re giving a gift on line, make sure you submit your gift before midnight central time on December 31.

If you’d like to give a check in person, you can hand deliver it to me, to Pastor Matt, or any of the elders. As long as any of us have your check in hand by December 31, we can make sure it’s noted as a 2022 contribution.

As we look ahead to 2023, we have a couple of dates for you to keep in mind.

For those who have students in our Roots Student Ministry, note these two upcoming events:

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a member of our church, mark your calendar for Friday night, January 13 and Saturday morning, January 14. We’ll have more details for you soon about our upcoming new members get together on those dates.

And for those who really like to plan ahead, we have our Winter-Spring 2023 calendar ready for you to download and print. You can download it here.

This will be the last newsletter for 2022. Enjoy the holidays. We’ll see you Christmas Eve and in the new year!

See you in church.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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