Across the Pastor’s Desk: Christmas is a time to remember
Published 8:00 pm Thursday, December 23, 2021
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose
Advent, the season of waiting, of expectation, and hope, has come to an end. The time for the celebration of the birth of the Savior is at hand. It is time for the people of God to worship and to rejoice. It is that worship and rejoicing that refocuses the emphasis of the season at hand, and it is a season.
For many, Christmas will be over by Dec. 26 (except perhaps for the returns to be made). Football and leftovers will have taken center stage and there will be some sense of urgency to remove the tree and decorations.
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For the people of God, however, Christmas is a season of 12 days of remembering and celebrating the Incarnation of God in the midst of the people. Christmas is not a day to be hurried through but a season to ponder — just as Mary did — what all of these angelic announcements and the birth of the Savior have to do with everyday life and experience.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the titles Savior and Lord were political as much as anything used in reference to the emperor in Rome and were a constant reminder of the domination that the Empire brought with it. To name Jesus as Lord and Savior was to declare to the world and its powers that their claim was no longer valid. For believers there was to be but one Lord and Savior, and that one was Jesus, the child born in Bethlehem.
Even in the familiar telling of the Nativity, the shadows of this world are clearly present. This is not to be some romanticized exercise of God’s love and grace. God had become incarnate to confront the powers of this world in an ultimate fashion.
From the very start, God shows God’s presence not through the powers and expectations of the world but rather in the will of God by first addressing those whom the world excluded. The unincluded were to be included. A new day was dawning, and a whole new way of measuring worth and value was being instituted. Not in Rome or Jerusalem, but among the least in the world God’s love was made known in the birth of Jesus.
The reality is that Christmas and Easter celebrate the same gift, the gift of God’s redemption. The one born and laid in a feeding trough is the same one who will give himself on the cross and be raised again to new life. He is the same one who has promised to come again and to claim this world as God’s own, fulfilling all of the promises of God and bringing together past, present and future.
God’s children are encouraged to make time to reconsider the depths of the Christmas season and its message. Once again the opportunity is at hand to hear a voice significantly different from the voice of the world. Take time for worship and for rejoicing in the good news of God’s love and grace from the feeding trough to the cross and to the empty tomb.
“For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Don Rose is pastor at Mansfield and United Lutheran Churches