December 25 2022

Merry Christmas!     

Unknown Artist.
Mary with Jesus is always a sign to us that Jesus is fully human. Mary is the definitive witness of Jesus’ birth and vulnerability.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness… And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth…from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:1-17)

We all experience all manner of darkness throughout our lives. For thousands of years, through countless generations, believer after believer has gone through suffering of all kinds, keeping their eyes on the light that came to life at the birth of Jesus.

In the 4th century, Bishop Ambrose comforted his people. Life wasn’t easy then and it isn’t easy now. “God’s Scripture gives proof in numerous passages that (we) must undergo many disturbances in this life and also that many consolations are at hand.

“With these, a spirit of sufficient vigor and awareness of the right should overcome present discomforts and look to those things that promise everlasting joy. The consolations do indeed outweigh the discomforts, because they impart calm in present difficulties and the hope of things to come.”

Chief among our consolations in the face of our discomforts is the birth of Jesus Christ. God is with us. We are not alone. Jesus is a source of comfort and strength for all who turn to him.

We also have the hope of things to come. God became human; divine nature was shared with humans. By becoming human, God was committing to suffering but Jesus’ suffering was not pointless. Instead, God used his suffering to transform humanity. Thanks to God becoming flesh in Jesus, our own mortal suffering is now connected to our own redemption and the beautiful world that is coming. I find that helps me with pain, grief, and disappointment. Hardship is now part of my transformation and salvation.

May Christmastime bring you real comfort and strength. May you find many consolations in your days so that you have thanksgiving to give to God. May Jesus be born within you today.

Yours with love,

Pastor Joel



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