December 2022 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 witnessing to God’s love which we know through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

Entering the Advent season we celebrate that Jesus Christ has come to us. We celebrate his presence with us through His Holy Spirit and look forward to the final coming of Jesus Christ in the fullness of time. Journeying by faith during Advent 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.

The scripture texts we read tell of people living in the midst of darkness, despair, turmoil, conflict, brokenness, fear and anxiety. God promises the Savior is coming to rescue, redeem, transform, renew, all who in faith say yes to Jesus Christ and are born anew.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:1-20

The Gospel, Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ, may be familiar to us, but more folks have not heard the good news of Jesus Christ. How do we receive and share the good news?

Yes, Jesus reveals the Father and gives witness to him. He is the One who knows everything about him. He speaks about him as though he saw him, as though he were in continuous communion with him, as someone with whom he has always lived and whose character, tastes, habits, and way of life he knows.
This is what is so marvelous about the gospels—nothing could have replaced Jesus in this mission. Through his words we come to know God himself, his exact will, his way of looking at things, his most intimate desires, his holy countenance…
Jesus does not shift the balance in the relationship between creature and Creator. This balance rests only on the human’s act of abandonment and God’s act of gratuitous love.
I should say that, although Jesus has given us the “photograph” of the Father in the gospels, the mystery, the “unknowing” of God remains. We see, and yet we do not see; we become acquainted, and yet we still need to become further acquainted; we know, but we are still very ignorant. It is a photograph that we are able and unable to see.
It depends on you. You are the camera, able to fix inside yourself what you see and what you don’t see in the gospels and thus to make a photograph of your own. You know that the power of fixing an image in the soul depends on the Holy Spirit, who is love, who alone is able to make that photograph in proportion to your intimacy with him. – From The God Who Comes by Carlo Carretto

Come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. Seek God’s saving mercy, and ask – for God’s kingdom coming to all the world. Christ the Savior empowers us to move forward in ministry; to seek and serve the least, lost, and lonely; offering them Jesus Christ! Pray the glory of the Lord is revealed for the salvation and deliverance of the world. Go, tell, Jesus Christ has come! Seek the indwelling power of God’s Holy Spirit to proclaim the love and mercy of God!

In Jesus, Pastor Paul

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