Across the Pastor’s Desk: Season’s greeting this Christmas

Published 9:28 am Friday, December 16, 2016

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Sean Forde

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

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Season’s greetings.

Have you seen the various manger scenes around town? They’re set up in front yards, in store decorations, in our homes and in church. I love how baby Jesus is always at the center of the manger. It’s fitting because He is at the center of our lives.

Sean Forde

Sean Forde

When our children were a little younger, they would play with the manger that was set up in the house. My wife and I thought it was a stationary item, so it was set in the traditional way with Jesus in the middle of the manger.

Yet, every day as I walked past it, the scene would come to life and be changed in a different array. The manger would be set up where they left off in their imaginative play time. I never knew where Jesus would be. He was with animals one day, the shepherds on another, the wise men on another and so on. It seemed that Mary and Joseph didn’t keep Jesus all to themselves; they shared him with all who were present.

That means that Jesus wasn’t just beheld and looked at, but he was held and hugged.

Maybe that’s what we need this Christmas, not just to behold Jesus but to hold Jesus. Our joy comes in holding the baby.

You know that precious moment — when you hold the newborn baby — that’s how love is transferred. It’s the unspoken promise that I will always love you, now and forever. We hold, we snuggle, we cuddle, we hug and kiss, and love becomes real.

My prayer is that the love of Jesus and for Jesus becomes real for you this Christmas. May His love transform our lives. Behold and then hold the Christ child in your heart, both now and forevermore. Amen.

Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Sean Forde is a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.