FROM: Gene Ewert 12/8/2019 on Facebook. Brought tears to my eyes.
Good morning Christ Churchers:
This is the 2nd Sunday of Advent. It is represented by the “Bethlehem Candle” and the attribute on which we reflect is LOVE.
As I remember back on all the Christmas seasons I have been a part of, there has never been a time that it was not 100% based within a church setting. As a kid we had Christmas program practices weeks before our performances. O my, the patience of the ladies putting it together! The night (almost always at night) of the presentation, the church would be packed, we would sing our songs, take our bows in our bathrobes and get our brown paper bags with an orange or apple, salted peanuts in the shell, some other nuts and ribbon candy. Then for our family, on the way home that night, we would drive around our little town of Marion and look at Christmas lights. The culmination of multiple repetitions of those songs in many, many practices and during church services for many years since, it is no wonder the words are engrained into my heart and mind.
All of that is to say that Bethlehem is the reminder of what God was setting in place for our redemption through a Redeemer born in a manger – WHY?, to parents of no particular status – WHY? Announced to shepherds in a pasture – WHY? Visited by some dudes bearing seemingly odd gifts – WHY? So many “whys” about this whole story. But the answer is the attribute on which we reflect – LOVE. John 3:16 love. Luke 2 love. Linus: “That, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about!” love.
My encouragement to us all as we gather the next few weeks is to build those traditional memories with each other that will carry on with us for years. The repetition (precept upon precept – verse upon verse –song upon song) is a repetition of the act of love that our Lord has for His children, the building of our love for each other and love for a world, like Bethlehem, that doesn’t yet know the Savior that has come to them. Go Tell It on the Mountain!
O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel
See you in a bit. Come with hearts ready to worship, stomachs ready to feast and joyful spirits fit for a parade!