The Messiah Has Come!
Fearing the next fiat from Dr. Fauci? Grumbling over the governor’s latest gambits? Bummed over the steady barrage of bad news? Here’s some good news: The Messiah has come!
This has been a challenging year:
There is the pandemic, where many have lost jobs, income, or even family members. People have reluctantly cancelled trips, events, and holiday gatherings with family and friends. Children have missed going to school. Some people and families are really struggling with being cooped up for over 9 months now at home, while others at risk are doing their best to stay safely isolated at home. Our church had to cancel programs for children, youth, and adults from Easter, to Summer Events, to Sunday School classes & Growth Groups, to Christmas, including the Community Christmas concerts we have held every year for 17 years (they couldn’t even rehearse). We have scrambled to adapt to meeting safely inside, outside, or not at all while still seeking to share worship, God’s Word, and to stay in touch with as many as possible each week, without knowing what next week will bring. And there are rumblings of further possible lock-downs, making it hard to plan things.
Then there was the year of societal problems and polarizing politics with rallies, protests, and riots and one of the most contested elections in U.S. history – a delight for some, a disaster for others, and very divisive for all. This was a year where police were vilified and de-funded, criminals were set free, and crime soared, but those in charge did not seem to notice any connection. Some leaders made rules that seemed so arbitrary or restrictive that they didn’t see the need to follow them themselves. Everyone has their own opinions about all of this, but historians will be sorting out what happened this year for years to come.
But you know what? That first Christmas was no sleigh ride, either… you know, the one where a young carpenter had to travel some 90 miles of open rugged road with his 9-months pregnant bride to their ancestral home due to a government edict, only to find an animal stable as their only birthing center and nursery? You can almost smell the challenges! Yet that is how God brought salvation and hope and new life to us – in the midst of political turmoil and personal challenges that people had to cope with (read Luke 2:1-20). It is into a world of trouble that the Messiah came, bringing a message of love to a world of hatred, forgiveness to a world of sin, peace to a world of conflict, joy to a world of misery, and hope to a world of despair. In spite of our problems – no, because of them – the Messiah has come!
So from now until Easter, we are going to take a journey through the Gospel of Matthew (a personal favorite) to hear the stories and teachings of Jesus so we can understand the difference it makes that the Messiah has come! Matthew, one of the hand-picked disciples of Jesus, was a life changed by his personal experiences with Jesus, and has quite a story to tell. So join us each week – in person, if you can, on our patio or lawn for singing Christmas carols and hearing Christmas messages from Matthew through the month of December – or watch us at home (the sermons are posted now to watch or hear on our website, YouTube, or Facebook by 5 pm on Sundays). This will be a journey we can all take together, so begin reading a chapter each week and you will stay ahead and ready for each week’s message.
We are also planning a special outdoor Christmas Eve Candlelight Service @ 5:00 p.m., so join us with your friends & family, and bring a chair if you can, for a beautiful evening of Christmas carols, Christmas Eve communion, a devotion, and candle-lighting to celebrate the night before the Messiah came! Don’t let anything stop you from celebrating His coming!
Mike Openshaw, Senior Minister