Word for Word 1/2/19

Rev. Ron Pederson
Rev. Ron Pederson

The True Christmas Spirit
I remember when I was a child how exciting Christmas time was. How we waited and waited for Christmas to get here. It seemed like it took forever. As a child there seemed to be a special spirit or feeling in the air at Christmas time. It was a feeling of excitement and happiness that only children experience.

But when I got older, about 12 years old or so, I remember feeling disappointed because that feeling of Christmas was no longer there, like it used to be. I tried to get it back but it would never be the same again.

But then a new Christmas spirit replaced the old one. Christmas took on a much deeper meaning. Now I was old enough to understand what Christmas was really all about. Those Christmas Carols: Away In A Manger, Silent Night, Joy To The World, and O Holy Night, began to take on a new meaning.

Before, when I was a child, the reason I enjoyed singing those carols was because they were a pleasant reminder of the gifts under the tree and the fun they bring us during our two week Christmas vacation. But now those carols took on a new meaning.  They would remind me of my Savior from sin. Now I loved to hear the story of stories read again. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

Yes, now, it was my Savior whose birth we were celebrating - the One who came down to this earth from the glories of heaven. The Lord God, Yahweh, the One who created the heavens and the earth, the One who gave Moses the 10 Commandments, came down to this earth and became one of us in order to save us from our sin. Unheard of! A God who loved us so much, that He took upon Himself the punishment for our sin.  What other religion has such a loving God?  For as the Psalmist says: “Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works” (Psalm 86:8). And St Paul writes in Romans: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).

Now I saw in that little baby in a manger my Savior from sin - The one who suffered and died on the cross in my place. And because He did all that, now I have the forgiveness of all my sins in Him, in Jesus - Forgiveness that is mine to claim as a free gift by faith alone. That is the true Christmas Spirit.
Pastor Ron Pederson
King of Grace Lutheran Church (ELS) Waukon

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