December 2021 Pastor’s Perspective

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Glory, honor and blessing, praise and thanksgiving to God for his goodness and love; and to all of you for the faithful witness and service you give to God and others. Nancy and I bless the Lord and thank you for sharing the Gospel of God’s love in Jesus Christ.

We have begun Advent 2021, the beginning of the Christian year. Entering Advent we celebrate what the word literally means – ad venire – to come to: the truth that God comes to us in Jesus Christ. We rejoice in his presence with us through His Holy Spirit, in His Holy Word, in His Holy Church and we look to the final coming of Jesus Christ in the fullness of time.

We believe in the new birth offered in Jesus Christ. We proclaim good news for everyone to hear; that all who believe and receive Jesus Christ by faith may have new life. God’s coming to us is historical and new. We hear again the glorious mystery of all God has done in the person of Jesus, and believe what is affirmed about the Son of God in our ancient creed:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

Our faith is not simply an opinion, personal preference, or our own preferred truth: it is established on the foundation of God’s work in history! God declared through the prophet Isaiah:

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert… I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring… thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it, let him declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no rock; I know not any.” Isaiah 43:18-19, 44:3, 6-8

Entering the Advent season we celebrate the reality that Jesus Christ has come to us. We are not re-enacting some dry-old, historical saga, but living in the fullness of life since God is with us. Journeying by faith during this Advent season we experience the faithfulness of God’s love through the Word made flesh and the wonder of new life in the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ.

We rejoice in the fullness of life because of Jesus, God with us, knowing all the hardships, uncertainties, and deep valleys, cannot separate us from our Lord, our strength. The prophet Habakkuk declared:

Though the fig tree do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like hind’s feet, he makes me tread upon my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19

Advent 2021, leading to Christmas, we celebrate more than: “Jesus is the reason for the Season.” He is far more, he is our strength, our life is in Jesus!

Come, worship and adore Christ the Lord. Seek God’s saving mercy, make supplication – for God’s kingdom coming to all the world. Christ the Savior has come and empowers us to love; to seek and serve the least, lost, and lonely; offering them Jesus Christ! God continues to do new things. Pray for the glory of the Lord to be revealed for the salvation and deliverance of the world. Go, tell, Jesus Christ has come! Ask God’s Holy Spirit to empower and guide as we proclaim the love and mercy of God!

In Jesus, Pastor Paul

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